Takaharu Furukawa- The legendary Japanese archer set to face Atanu Das in the pre-quarter finals
Indian Archer Atanu Das is all set to face Japanese legend Takaharu Furukawa in the Pre-Quarter Finals
Indian Archer Atanu Das scripted history after he knocked off Olympic gold medalist and Korean legend, Oh Jinhyek in a nerve-wracking shootout that saw the Das hit the mark he needed to go through to the Pre-Quarter Finals. He goes on to face yet another legend in the form of Japan's Takaharu Furukawa, who finished runner up to Oh Jinhyek in the 2012 London Olympics. Furukawa has been at every Olympics since 2004 and has a wealth of experience, which Atanu will have to overcome if he is to go through.
The 37th ranked archer has won the Bronze in this year's event with the Japanese team and has won gold in the mixed team event at the 2018 Asian games, along with the silver at the 2012 London Olympics. The four-time Olympian prevailed in the selection process with young shooters when legends such as Hiroshi Yamamoto and other regulars such as Kaori Kawanaka and Yuki Hayashi failed to make the cut. The Olympics being hosted in Japan adds to the pressure that the athletes face when they enter the grandest stage of them all. Luckily for Japan, which has never won the gold in individual archery before, Furukawa has the experience and the mental grit to withstand such pressure and come with great performances. Furukawa also has modest expectations as he says that he strives for consistency and that applying the extra pressure to succeed will lead to disappointment.
The 36-year-old says," Peoples support and encouragement always provide great energy, and I'm expecting this to give me more power than usual. This is a chance for me to be stronger. More pressure means more opportunity for growth," reports World Archery Sport.
Furukawa shows a high level of mental fortitude and does not the highs and lows of the game get to him. His mental toughness was on display during the London Olympics when he came back from a bad situation and defeated Dutch archer Van der Ven who later said, "His mental game was really good that day. To come back from such a big disadvantage and end up winning it – much respect for that match. He doesn't let himself get too down. You have to shoot at a high level if you want to beat him," reports World Archery Sport.
The 36-year-old felt he lost focus during the 2016 Rio Olympics as he was swayed due to media pressure and claims that he was the favorite to win gold. The added attention made it difficult for him to calm his nerves and see it through, the media hype was a massive lesson that he later learnt to overcome. "I get nervous thinking too much about results. A weak mentality is the main obstacle. If I just focus on myself and believe I have the power, I can overcome this challenge. The field of play has a special atmosphere. I'm looking forward to the experience. I can't wait," said Furukawa when asked about his expectations for the Tokyo Olympics.
The 36-year-old will face an equally mentally tough competitor in Atanu Das, who is riding on a high after knocking out the former gold medalist, that he lost to in the 2012 Olympics. This is the perfect set-up for a match that will be remembered through the ages as two tough competitors lay it all on the line to create history for their respective countries.