Harvinder Singh wins India’s first Paralympics archery medal

The Indian recurve archer beat South Korea’s Kim Min Su in shoot-off to win the bronze medal at the Tokyo Paralympics.

By Naveen Peter
Picture by Alex Davidson/ Getty Images

Recurve para archer Harvinder Singh ended a fruitful day for India at the Tokyo Paralympics with a bronze medal in the men’s individual recurve - open event on Friday.

Harvinder Singh’s medal was India’s first-ever podium finish in archery at the Para Games.

He beat South Korea’s Kim Min Su 6-5 in a shoot-off to win India’s third medal of the day at Tokyo 2020.

Earlier on Friday, para shooter Avani Lekhara won a bronze in the women’s 50m rifle 3-position SH1 while Praveen Kumar clinched a silver medal in the men’s high jump T64.

India has, so far, won 13 medals at Tokyo 2020 - its best performance at the Para Games till date. Four medals at Rio 2016 and Stoke Mandeville/ New York 1984 were the country’s previous best at the quadrennial event.

With the skies opening up during the evening session at the Yumenoshima park in Tokyo, Harvinder Singh was in for a tough test against Kim Min Su, a bronze medallist from the 2018 Asian Para Games.

The 30-year-old Indian archer began well to take the opening set, but lost his rhythm midway through the contest. Kim Min Su capitalised and took the match into a one-arrow shoot-off.

In the decider, it was the South Korean who blinked first with an eight. Harvinder Singh made the most of the slip up to find the innermost circle, a 10, with his final shot and won the contest 6-5.

Incidentally, Harvinder Singh began his day with a 6-5 win via shoot-off over Stefano Travisani of Italy in the opening round of the competition. Later, he then overcame RPC's Bato Tsydendorzhiev 6-5 and Germany's Maik Szarszewski 6-2 but lost to USA's Kevin Mather, the eventual gold medallist, 6-4 in the semi-finals to enter the bronze medal match.

“I practised shoot off a lot. In my last practice, my coach asked me to train for it and I shot tens thrice. So I had the confidence. I did it again today and people are calling me a shoot-off master. It feels really good,” Harvinder Singh said after his win.