The Indian men’s archery team of Pravin Jadhav, Atanu Das, and Tarundeep Rai defeated Kazakhstan 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics, where they will face heavyweights Korea on Monday.
The Indians were impressive, particularly Atanu Das, who pounded six perfect 10s to help his side win at Yumenoshima Park. 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 striking six flawless 10s, including two Xs, to compensate for Rai and Jadhav’s uneven performance. Das, the Guatemala City World Cup gold medalist, appeared controlled and composed after coming back from a disappointing 35th place in the ranking round on the first day, four places behind Olympic newcomer Jadhav.
Das was dropped from the mixed team, where his wife Deepika Kumari was paired with Jadhav and reached it to the quarterfinals but lost to Korea on Saturday.
With a two-point deficit at the midway stage of the first set, Jadhav and Das concluded with two outstanding arrows, each drilling in an X, to beat their Kazakhstan opponents by one point. The Army combo of three-time Olympian Rai and rookie Jadhav was unsteady in the second set, selecting 8 and 7 each, but Das made up for it with a perfect 10 and a 9 to give the team a dominating 4-0 lead.
In the third set, the Kazakhstan team stepped it up with three perfect 10s, while the Indians matched them with two perfect 10s from Das, but an 8 from Rai cost them the set. The Kazakh team attempted to level the match, but the Indian trio refused to give up and sealed the deal with two 10s from Jadhav and Das.