Harvinder Singh wins bronze, India's first archery medal in Paralympics

World No.23 Singh was the first athlete from India to win a gold medal at a major para competition in the 2018 Asian Games.

September 03, 2021 06:29 pm | Updated September 04, 2021 07:45 am IST - Tokyo

Harvinder Singh. File.

Harvinder Singh. File.

Harvinder Singh on Friday notched up India's first ever archery medal in the Paralympics, holding his nerves to down Kim Min Su of Korea in a thrilling shoot-off for the men's individual recurve bronze in the ongoing Games here.

World No.23 Singh was the first athlete from India to win a gold medal at a major para competition in the 2018 Asian Games.

An economics scholar from the Punjabi University, Patiala, Singh collected three shoot-off wins on the day starting with his triumphs in the opening rounds.

Hailing from a middle-class farming family, Singh had dengue when he was just one-and-half years old and a local doctor administered him an injection that had an adverse effect and his legs stopped working properly.

In the bronze playoff, the 31-year-old was leading 5-3 before the Kroean clinched the fifth set shooting a perfect 10 to force a shoot-off where the Indian responded in style shooting a perfect 10 against Kim's 8 for a 6-5 (26-24, 27-29, 28-25, 25-25, 26-27) (10-8) win.

In the semifinals, Singh lost to world number 10 Kevin Mather of the USA 6-4 in an intense five-setter (25-28, 24-24, 25-25, 25-24, 24-26).

Singh, who is from a small village Guhla Cheeka near Kaithal in Haryana, was stretched to the fullest in the first two rounds, but he showed tremendous resilience to overcome his fancied opponents via shoot-offs.

In the first round of 32, Singh squandered a 4-0 lead against Stefano Travisani after shooting a 7 in the third set as his Italian rival made it 5-5 (27-24, 26-22, 26-27, 25-25, 25-27) to force a shoot-off.

Singh clinched the issue —6-5 (10-7)—in style, shooting a perfect 10 in the tie-breaker as his rival managed just a 7.

In the last-16, Singh pipped former world number one Bato Tsydendorzhiev of Russia, once again by the thinnest of margins 6-5 (8-7).

Singh effected a spectacular turnaround from 0-4 down to bring the match on an even keel 5-5 (26-28, 23-26, 29-26, 23-21, 28-28) and force a shoot-off where he edged out his Russian opponent 8-7.

In the quarters, Singh swept aside 49-year-old three-time Paralympian Maik Szarszewski of Germany 6-2 (25-21, 28-23, 25-28, 26-23) dropping just one set.

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