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Paralympics: Harvinder Singh wins historic bronze for India in archery

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Harvinder Singh’s medal was the first for India in archery in Paralympics

Bengaluru,Harvinder Singh created history by winning India its first medal in archery in the Paralympics after the para archer beat South Korea’s Kim Min Su in a shoot-off in the Men’s Individual Recurve event.

Earlier, the Para Asian champion had lost to eventual gold medallist and world No.10 Kevin Mather of the USA 4-6 (25-28, 24-24, 25-25, 25-24, 24-26) in an intense five-setter. In the bronze play-off, 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.

It was India’s third medal of the day and 13th overall in the Paralympics 2020, which is scheduled to end in the Japanese capital on Sunday (September 5).

An economics scholar from the Punjabi University, Patiala, Harvinder collected three shoot-off wins on the day starting with his triumphs in the opening rounds. Harvinder, 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, Harvinder 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. Harvinder 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, he pipped former world No.1 Bato Tsydendorzhiev of Russia, once again by the thinnest of margins 6-5 (8-7). Harvinder 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, Harvinder 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, Harvinder 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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Harvinder on his historic achievement. “Outstanding performance by @ArcherHarvinder. He displayed great skill and determination, resulting in his medal victory. Congratulations to him for winning a historic Bronze medal. Proud of him. Wishing him the very best for the times ahead. #Paralympics #Praise4Para,” the Prime Minister tweeted. A bronze at the Paralympics will give Harvinder a huge fillip in his career while at the same time giving a huge facelift for the sport. Harvinder’s bronze, third medal of the country for the day, after two barren days, increased India’s overall tally at Paralympics 2020 Games to an all-time high of 13. The Paralympics 2020, which was rescheduled to this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic will conclude in the Japanese capital on Sunday (September 3). Just like the recent Tokyo 2020 Games, the Paralympics too is also being held without spectators as per the COVID-19 health guidelines and protocols. Sajith B Warrier

Narendra Modi@narendramodi

Outstanding performance by @ArcherHarvinder

 He displayed great skill and determination, resulting in his medal victory. Congratulations to him for winning a historic Bronze medal. Proud of him. Wishing him the very best for the times ahead. #Paralympics #Praise4Para

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