Indian challenge in the compound men's open archery ended after fancied Rakesh Kumar lost to former world champion Xinliang Ai of China in a tight quarterfinal battle at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo on Tuesday. Day 7 Blog | News
The third-seeded Rakesh, who had shot the best Indian qualifying score of 699 out of a possible 720 in the ranking round, found the going tough against the 2016 Olympics mixed open champion to lose by two points (143-145) at the Yumenoshima Park.
The Chinese 24-year-old, who is the reigning Asian Games champion, made a strong start shooting a perfect 30 while Rakesh scored 29 to trail by just one point.
Xinliang extended the lead by two points in the second end before the Indian 36-year-old reduced the deficit by one point at halfway mark.
A perfect round eluded Rakesh in the last two ends as the Chinese maintained his supremacy to seal a last-four berth.
In the pre-quarterfinals, Rakesh bounced back from behind to oust Marian Marecak, a two-time 49-year-old Olympian from Slovakia.
Two 8s in the first two ends saw the Indian trail by three points as he slowly stepped up before a perfect fourth end -- three 10s including two Xs (closest to the centre) -- took him past the Slovak 111-108.
Both shot an identical 29-all in the final end which was enough for Rakesh to make the last-eight.
In their second Paralympic appearance, India will now look up to Vivek Chikara and Harvinder Singh who will open their campaign in the recurve men's open on Friday.
2019 Asian Para Championship winner Vivek Chikara finished in top-10 shooting 609 points, ahead of 2018 Para Asian Games champion Harvinder Singh who qualified as 21st seed.