On Monday, Indian archers were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the men’s team event at the Tokyo Olympics after faltering at critical stages against the formidable Koreans (July 26). Following a 6-2 victory against Kazakhstan, the Indian trio of Atanu Das, Pravin Jadhav, and Tarundeep Rai were defeated in straight sets by the top seeds at Yumenoshima Park. In the opening two sets, the Korean team of Kim Je Deok, Oh Jin Hyek, and Kim Woojin were on fire, shooting 10 flawless 10s out of 12 to put the pressure on.
The Indians, who won silver at the 2019 World Championships, answered brilliantly in the second set with four 10s, but Das stumbled with an 8 in the final arrow as the Koreans appeared to be on a run. India were let down by Guatemala City World Cup gold medalist Das, who failed to replicate his stunning performance against Kazakhstan earlier in the tournament. In three sets, he couldn’t find a single ten.
Olympic debutant Jadhav, on the other hand, was outstanding with five 10s, while veteran Rai, competing in his third Games, also stepped up with three 10s, but it was simply not enough.
Earlier, Das had smashed six flawless 10s to help his team to a 6-2 victory over Kazakhstan in the first round. India’s hopes for their first Olympic gold in archery will now rest in the individual section, where the men’s trio, together with world number one Deepika Kumari, will compete on Wednesday. The Indians were strong against Kazakhstan, particularly Das, who blasted six flawless 10s to play a key role in the team’s victory.
Denis Gankin, Ilfat Abdullin, and Sanzhar Mussayev of Kazakhstan displayed flashes of brilliance. They won the third set by a single point. Das made all the difference by getting six flawless 10s, including two Xs, to compensate for the Army combination of Rai and Jadhav’s uneven performance.
Das had incredible fortitude in bouncing back after finishing 35th in the ranking round on the first day, four places behind Olympic newcomer Jadhav. Das’ departure from the mixed team, where his wife Deepika Kumari coupled up with Jadhav, resulted in a quarterfinal exit following Saturday’s defeat to Korea.