Indian archer Atanu Das on Thursday notched up one of the biggest wins of his career, knocking out third-seeded Korean and 2012 Olympic champion Oh Jin Hyek at the Tokyo Olympics and said that the key was just keeping his focus.
The dramatic finish saw both players tying three sets and win one each in an intense five-setter to force a shoot-off. Das showed amazing resilience as he bounced back from being 2-4 down after the first three to eventually edge out the 39-year-old Korean great with one arrow that mattered most.
“It was a tense moment. I’ve faced shoot-offs before. I knew he was shooting first, and if he would shoot a nine, I could win it. I just tried to maintain my focus. It was a tense moment, a win or lose situation. So I just went for the win,” Das was quoted as saying by World Archery.
Incidentally, as per PTI report, Das had beaten Oh earlier too in the shoot-off for a bronze medal in the Asian Championships in Bangkok in 2019. But dealing with the pressure and to win at the biggest stage of the Olympics was something “more special”.
“Yahan pe dimaag chala raha tha, dil nahin,” Das was quoted as saying by PTI after his win.
“We all know he is an Olympic champion and how great he is.... Every match in the Olympics is like a final, so it feels more special.”
Das is the only other Indian archer other than Deepika Kumari, his wife, to reach the individual pre-quarterfinals of the Tokyo Olympics.
“I was listening to her full time. She was pushing me: ‘believe in myself’, ‘you can do it’, ‘just stay calm and handle the situation’,” Das said in the mixed zone after his 6-5 (10-9) win.
“She is world number one and I’m privileged to have my wife in this competition. It was a great support and motivation for me.”
In the round of 16 on Saturday, he faces home favourite Takaharu Furukawa, an individual silver medalist at London 2012 and a team bronze medalist here in Tokyo.
Kumari is also in the round of 16 and her match is on Friday in the women’s event.
With PTI Inputs