Unsung Finn Poikolainen wins archery gold

With the powerful Japanese and American teams absent from the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, the archery events were particularly hard hit.

The favourites for the gold medal at the Trade Unions Olympics Sports Centre were the home hope, Boris Isachenko, and the bronze medallist from Montreal, Italian Giancarlo Ferrari.

However as the competition progressed, it was clear the main contenders had not counted on the challenge of the Finn Tomi Poikolainen.

With the men firing at targets from distances of 90, 70, 50 and 30 metres, consistency was key, and from the outset the 18-year-old from Helsinki was showing himself to be the most nerveless of marksmen.

Hungarian Bela Nagy finished the first round with a narrow lead over the field, with Britain’s Mark Blenkarne in second place.

Poikolainen was fifth and just out of the medals, but his endurance and powers of concentration were to see him gradually force his way to the top of the leaderboard.

The windy conditions and a vociferous home crowd cheering on Isachenko did little to throw the Finn off his stride and he eventually secured victory by three points from the Russian.

He finished fifth in Los Angeles four years later, when American Darrell Pace returned after the boycott to add to the gold he had won at Montreal by eclipsing the field again.

Poikolainen did help Finland to a silver at the team event at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona.


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