World No. 9 archer Atanu Das held his nerve to stun former Olympic champion Jinhyek Oh of South Korea and advance to the third round of the men’s individual event in the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.
After getting past Chinese Taipei’s Yu-Cheng Deng 6-4 (27-26, 27-28, 28-26, 27-28, 28-26) in the first round, Das eliminated the third seed and London Olympics gold medallist Oh 6-5 (25-26, 27-27, 27-27, 27-22, 28-28, 10-9) via a nerve-wracking shoot-off in the second.
Interestingly, Das had beaten the Korean heavyweight 6-5 through a shoot-off to pocket the bronze medal in the Asian championships in Bangkok in November 2019.
After a below-par performance in the men’s team event, 29-year-old Das – encouraged by his wife and ace archer Deepika Kumari in the stands – shot consistently good scores to keep Oh, who is 10 years older than the Indian, under pressure and notch up a morale-boosting win.
Das, having lost the first set after gathering two 8s, staged a strong comeback to score six consecutive 9s in the next two sets and share the spoils.
Trailing 4-2, Das needed to win the fourth set to stay in the contest. As Oh shot a 7, Das seized the opportunity with a 10 and leveled the scores.
Both archers recorded an identical series of 10, 9 and 9 in the fifth set to take the contest to tie-breaker.
In the shoot-off, Oh managed a 9 while Das picked up a 10 to set up a pre-quarterfinals match with Takaharu Furukawa of the home country on Saturday.
Earlier, Das beat Deng in a battle of fluctuating fortunes. The Indian claimed the first and third sets, while the Chinese Taipei archer won the second and fourth.
Das shot 10, 9 and 9 in the decider, while Deng came up with 10, 9 and 7.