Indian archer Harvinder Singh won bronze medal in men’s individual recurve event at the ongoing Tokyo Paralympics on Friday, bagging the first-ever archery medal for India at the Games. Overall, this is India‘s 13th medal at the Paralympics so far.
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.
In the bronze playoff, the 31-year-old was leading 5-3 before the Korean 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.
Singh’s win means India have now won more medals at the ongoing Tokyo Paralympics (13) than in all edition of the Games from 1968 to 2016 combined (12).
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 hails 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.
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.