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Tokyo 2020: India's Atanu Das Stuns Two-Time Olympic Champion in Men's Individual Archery Event

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Archery - Men's Individual - 1/16 Finals - Yumenoshima Archery Field, Tokyo, Japan - July 29, 2021. Atanu Das of India in action
© REUTERS / CLODAGH KILCOYNE

Indian archers have been under the radar for their poor showing at the Olympics in the Japanese capital. All of the potential medal winners, including women's World No. 1 Deepika Kumari struggled to get going in Tokyo, failing to even qualify for the finals in the majority of events until Wednesday.

Indian archer Atanu Das caused possibly the biggest upset of the Tokyo Games in archery on Thursday. He stunned two-time Olympic champion, South Korea's Oh Jin Hyek in a cliffhanger to progress through to the Round of 16 in the men's individual archery event at Yumenoshima Ranking Field.

​Oh clinched the men's individual gold medal at the London Olympics in 2012. He was also a member of the Korean side that won the men's team archery event in Tokyo on Monday. The South Koreans, Jin Hyek, Kim Je Deok, and Kim Woojin destroyed Chinese Taipei 6-0 in the summit clash.

The South Korean began the contest with scores of 8-9-9 before Das responded with 8-8-9, handing the Korean a two point lead in the opening set.

However, Das made a strong comeback in the second set, delivering three consecutive 9s, while Oh failed to capitalise on the opportunity as he only hit an 8 with his last arrow. Oh's 8 put the match back on an even keel.

Tensions started to mount in the third set, with both players sharing almost identical scorelines.

When the Olympic champion produced three arrows of 8-10-9, the Indian replied immaculately with 9-9-9.

Despite the tie in the third set, the momentum seemed to have shifted towards Das as he grabbed the fourth set by coming up with three arrows of 8-9-10.

Even though the London Games gold medalist tried his best, he couldn't match the Indian archer, finishing the penultimate set with shots of 9-7-6 to send the match into a decider.

The fifth set face-off between both archers was extremely close as they shared the points and the result was only decided in a single arrow shoot-off.

Oh, who aimed first in the shoot-off came up with a shot of 9. Das, needing a perfect 10, replied with a stunning shot of 10 to seal his spot in the next round.

​Former Indian archer, Sanjeeva Singh, who is also a coveted Arjuna and Dronacharya awards winner, described Das' win as "outstanding".

"Outstanding from Das. A much needed morale boosting victory for the Indians. His performance against Oh Jin Hyek would have certainly lifted the spirits in the Indian camp", Singh told Sputnik on Thursday.

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