Tokyo Games: Tarundeep Rai lost to Itay Shanny of Israel in the second round.© AFP
Veteran Indian archer Tarundeep Rai lost to Itay Shanny of Israel in a tight shoot-off finish for a heartbreaking second round exit in his last Olympics appearance at the Tokyo Games, on Wednesday. Under windy conditions at the Yumenoshima Park, both players were locked 5-5 but Shanny, who is 15 years younger to Rai, sealed the match 10-9 with a perfect score in the shoot-off. The world number 92 Israeli, who had knocked out Japanese team event bronze medallist Muto Hiroki in the first round, was superior to the Indian at the death as he shot three 10s from the final four arrows to sail into the pre-quarterfinals.
This was the second successive round two exit for three-time Olympian Rai who had made his Games debut at Athens 2004. In 2012 London Olympics, Rai also had lost in the second round.
The 37-year-old Army man, who had a thrilling come-from-behind 6-4 win over Oleksii Hunbin of Ukraine in the first round, once agains showed remarkable poise as he bounced back to lead 5-3 from a 0-2 deficit.
Needing a tie in the fifth set to move into last-16, Rai faltered to match Shanny who won the set by two points, drilling in two 10s and a nine, as against Rai’s sequence of 9-8-9.
A perfect 10 kept on eluding Rai as the world number 54 Indian started the proceedings in the shoot-off with a 9, while Shanny sealed the issue with a 10.
Rai was severely let down by wind gusts as he shot a poor seven to lose the first set by four points before levelling the match 2-2 by winning the second set by slender margin of one point.
A series of six 9s by Shanny meant that Rai snatched a 5-3 lead but failed to tie the fifth set.
Earlier in the day, Rai trailed 2-4 against the Ukrainian world no 66 Hunbin but won the final two sets with three perfect 10s to move into the second round.
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