Atanu Das showed fine composure and skill to bounce back from a poor start in his maiden Olympics to finish fifth in the qualification round as archery got underway at Brazil’s historic Samba street.
Lying a lowly 10th after first 36 arrows, the 24-year-old Kolkata lad turned it around in style in the final set of 36 arrows by shooting 23 perfect 10s including 10 closest to the centre to finish fifth with 683 out of the possible 720.
Das is the lone male member in the Indian archery team and compete only in the individual section as the men’s team had failed to qualify from the World Championship.
Leading the qualification round was two-time World champion Kim Woo-jin who shot 700, for a world record on the opening day of the XXXI Olympiad.
Das had troubled Woo-jin in the World Cup Stage 3 in Antalya earlier in June where he led the Korean heavyweight 4-0 before losing 5-6 for the individual bronze medal.
But his impressive finish meant that Das, who will begin his elimination round against lowly 60th ranked Jitbahadur Muktan of Nepal, will avoid the top-seed Woo-jin unless he reaches the summit-clash.
Das will get an easy draw till the quarterfinals and his probable semi-final opponent may be the 4th ranked Dutch man Sjef van den Berg who won the World Cup individual gold in Shanghai.
Das’s promising finish also meant he was ahead of London 2012 silver medalist Takaharu Furukuwa, the Japanese finished 7th and are in the bottom half of the draw.
On a sunny day without breeze creating a problem, Das taking mark for his first ever Olympics shot a promising 58 that included four perfect 10s including two closest to the centre (X) to match the Korean heavyweight who also had begun with 58 with an identical four perfect 10s.
But the inexperienced Indian struggled to get another perfect 10 in the second set of six arrows that yielded just 53 points with five 9s and one eight to slip from the fine start.
Das gradually improved and finished in style nine perfect 10s out of the last 12 arrows.