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OLYMPICS: Archers provide plenty of dramatics, with mixed results

2012/07/31 00:58:27

Taipei, July 30 (CNA) Taiwan's archers had a flair for the dramatic Monday, all involved in matches in the individual Olympic archery events that came down to a final arrow or final set.

The dramas failed to produce happy endings, however, for two of the four archers in action, all of whom were trying to make up for disappointing performances in the team competitions.

The most unfortunate was Wang Cheng-pang, who after defeating Daniel Pineda of Colombia in the first round of the individual men's event, faced Im Dong-hyun of South Korea, the visually impaired archer who broke the world record for the 72-arrow ranking round on July 27.

An overwhelming favorite, Im quickly jumped out to a 5-1 lead in the first-to-six race, winning two "sets," in which the archers shoot three arrows apiece, and tying one.

Wang fought back to take the next set to pull within 5-3 and had the Korean on the ropes in the final set after shooting a 28, two short of the maximum 30.

The Korean needed to fire a perfect 10 to win the match and avoid a one arrow shoot-off, and he succeeded by the narrowest of margins, planting the arrow on the 10-point circle line to thwart what would have been a major upset.

Also letting her fate rest on a final arrow was Taiwan's Le Chien-ying in the women's individual competition. The world No. 26 breezed through her first round match but then was locked in a struggle against world No. 25 Carina Christensen of Denmark in a round of 32 encounter.

With the match tied 3-3, Le needed a 10 on the final arrow of the next to last set to stave off defeat and got it.

But under pressure again on the last arrow of the fifth and final set, needing a nine to tie and a 10 to win, the normally steady Le fired a 6, an anticlimactic end to a pulsating fight that brought her Olympic Games to a close.

One of the two Taiwanese survivors Monday was Kuo Cheng-wei.

Kuo, who did not perform well in either the ranking round Friday or the men's team competition Saturday, was seemingly coasting to victory in his first round match against Elias Malave of Venezuela.

Kuo took a 5-3 lead and only needed an 8 with his final arrow in the fifth set -- normally not a big ask. Instead, he shot a 7, forcing a one-arrow shoot-off.

Shooting first, Malave planted what appeared to be a winning 10, but Kuo responded with a 10 of his own and was declared the winner because his arrow hit closer to the target's center than Malave.

Following his great escape, Kuo then rolled past Ahmed El-Nemr of Egypt 6-2 to advance to the men's individual round of 16, where he'll face world No. 7 Markiyan Ivashko of Ukraine.

The only Taiwanese archer not to live quite as dangerously was Tan Ya-ting, who nonetheless put up relatively low numbers early in her first round match against Nathalie Dielen of Switzerland and was lucky to be tied going into the final set.

Once there, she fired a near-perfect 29 to secure the win. Later in the day, she beat Elena Richter of Germany 6-2 to advance to the round of 16, where she'll face Pia Lionetta of Italy.

All of Taiwan's archers were hoping to improve on disappointing results in the team competition.

Both of Taiwan's archery teams were quickly knocked out of their respective tournaments over the weekend.

The men lost to Italy 216-206 in a dreadful performance in a round of 16 battle.

The women, who earned a bye into the quarterfinals, lost in a shoot-off against Russia after the Russians shot 10s with their last two arrows to tie the match in regulation at 216-216.

Archery has traditionally been one of Taiwan's strengths. The country won a silver in the men's team event and a bronze in the women's team event at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

(By Luke Sabatier)