Men’s Round of 64/32
The first day of individual eliminations saw the match-ups run wild. The weather added to the mix of pressure and nerves with random gusts of wind throughout the competition, leaving the door open for a few upsets. One of those came when recent gold medalist Kim Woo-jin lost to Indonesia’s Riau Ega Agatha, stunning the world of archery. The South Korean champion led strong after the first set victory, although luck was not on his side from the frustrating winds as he lost the next two. Ega Agatha put in a superb performance of not only skill but complete mental composure, hitting 110 out of 120 possible points to best the South Korean world record holder and gold medalist.
Also in the mix was 17-year-old Turkish archer Mete Gazoz facing Pierre Plihon. After having a nightmare start and even shooting a five in the first set, young Gazoz delivered a comeback from 4-0 to take the match to shootout. His efforts paid off, scoring a nine compared to Plihon’s six to advance to the round of 32. An amazing performance was completely unexpected, giving some the idea that his French rival may have been complacent. But what could have been predicted as a magical journey, turned out to be a dead end, as he lost to Sjef van den Berg who donned a bloodshot eye in the following hours.
The afternoon also pitted Sultan Duzelbayev and Gu Xuesong into a back and forth battle, ultimately finishing with the prior’s victory which was decided by one arrow. Duzelbayev would later lose to Mauro Nespoli of Italy, who had already beaten Muhammad Wijaya. For Wijaya, his country of Indonesia could still get the last laugh, as Nespoli is facing Ega Agatha in the round of 16. Ega Agatha is the last Indonesian in the competition after his other compatriot, Hendra Purnama, was defeated by Ukraine’s Viktor Ruban. Ruban then marched on to shoot against Jean-Charles Valladont, but not before Valladont barely edged past Rene Philippe Kouassi. The Frenchman proved to be the better man in the long run, outlasting a deficit to win the match 6-4. His found form would carry on against Ruban, sweeping him 6-0 for a bump to the sweet 16.
Finally came Wei Chun-Heng against Witthaya Thamwong, who fought through the elements in a shaky match. Thamwong stood strong and provided huge arrows in the clutch to match those of the ninth ranked Wei. Although when it came to shootout both men shot a ten, meaning the closer man to the center would win and for Thamwong, he proved best. His journey now leads him to Valladont, going against the odds as the 41st ranked archer this year.
Women’s Round of 64/32
The women showed a lot more in terms of nail biting action and drama in the afternoon. For starters, USA’s Mackenzie Brown was upset by San Yu Htwe. Htwe absolutely shocked millions around the world with five tens and even a perfect end of 30 in the match. Htwe was ranked 191, and her victory of the sole female American archer bellowed an outstanding applause from the crowd. Brown was fourth in the entire world, and her early exit was clearly seen to be disappointing at the very least.
But an even bigger upset stood taller than Htwe’s, with that being Alice Ingley’s rout of Lucilla Boari. Winning 5-1, Ingley commanded her shots through troubling winds and ended her score at 100. But for Boari her skill wasn’t enough, hitting two sixes and six sevens in her loss. The 353rd ranked Ingley is proud to have given her home country Australia a shot at a medal, especially as the biggest underdog in the competition. Yet all the momentum stood under her next rival Ane Marcelle dos Santos, from Brazil, who poured her heart and soul into a victory. For Dos Santos, the round of 32 came with tears of joy. Her first opponent, Saori Nagamine, hit a two in her last shot to help the Brazilian move on, creating a dream come true for her first ever Olympics. Then in the shooting against Ingley, the fire erupted for a 6-0 cake walk, never shooting under an eight. Her home crowd erupted with joy once more as she travels to the next stage.
South Korea, with their dominance lately, continued to best the competition with Ki Bo-bae’s two victories over Shehzana Anwar and Veronika Marchenko, leading her to the cinderella of the tournament, San Yu Htwe. But for two other archers, it’ll be a tough competition as China’s Wu Jiaxin and Qi Yuhong are set to face each other in the round of 16. Wu came away with six points in each of her first two matches, as did Qi, so it’ll be quite the interesting match to see.