Indian archers faltered at crucial moments against the mighty Koreans to make a quarterfinal exit from the men’s team event at the Tokyo Olympics, on Monday. After beating Kazakhstan 6-2, the Indian trio of Atanu Das, Pravin Jadhav and Tarundeep Rai lost in straight sets against the top seeds at the Yumenoshima Park. The Korean team of Kim Je Deok, Oh Jin Hyek and Kim Woojin were on song in the first two sets, shooting 10 perfect 10s out of 12 to apply early pressure. The Indians, who won a silver medal at the 2019 World Championships, responded well in the second set with a series of four 10s but Das faltered with an 8 in the last arrow, as Koreans looked on a roll.
India were let down by Guatemala City World Cup gold medallist Das who failed to repeat his brilliant show earlier against Kazakhstan. He could not find a single 10 in three sets.
Olympic debutant Jadhav on the other hand was brilliant with five 10s, while veteran Rai in his third Games appearance also stepped it up with three 10s, but that was simply not enough.
Earlier, Das had drilled in six perfect 10s to play a crucial role in team’s win 6-2 win over Kazakhstan in their opening round. India’s hope for their first ever medal in archery in the Olympics will now rest in the individual section where the men’s trio along with world number one Deepika Kumari will take to the field on Wednesday.
Against Kazakhstan, the Indians were strong, especially Das who drilled in six perfect 10s to play a crucial role in team’s win.The Kazakhstan troika of Denis Gankin, Ilfat Abdullin, Sanzhar Mussayev showed flashes of brilliance. They took the third set with one point margin.
Das made all the difference by hitting six perfect 10s including two 10s to make up for some inconsistent show by the Army duo of Rai and Jadhav.
Das showed tremendous resilience to bounce back after finishing a lowly 35th, four places behind Olympic debutant Jadhav, in the ranking round on the opening day.
The poor finish had resulted in Das’ removal from the mixed team where his wife Deepika Kumari paired up with Jadhav and made a quarterfinal exit following defeat against Korea on Saturday.
Trailing by two points at the halfway mark of the first set, Jadhav and Das finished with two superb arrows, drilling in X each to edge out their Kazakhstan rivals by one point.
There were gusts of wind in the second set and the Army duo of three-time Olympian Rai and debutant Jadhav were wobbly picking 8 and 7 each, but Das made up for it with a perfect 10 and a 9 to give the side a commanding 4-0 lead.
It was some high class shooting in the third set after the Kazakhstan team stepped it up with three perfect 10s as the Indians too matched them riding on two 10s by Das but an 8 by Rai cost them the set.
The Kazakh team showed intent to bring the match on an even keel but the Indian trio did not concede an inch and sealed the issue with two 10s from Jadhav and Das.
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