Israeli archer Itay Shanny scored a massive upset Wednesday to reach the last 16 in the men’s individual competition at the Tokyo Olympics, despite placing 60th out of 64 competitors in the initial ranking round.
Meanwhile, judoka Li Kochman was knocked out of the men’s -90kg category and Israeli sailor Katy Spychakov had disappointing results in her third day of competition.
The 22-year-old Shanny, who is the Jewish state’s first-ever archer to reach the Olympics, faced strong Japanese rival Hiroki Muto, who placed fifth overall in last Friday’s ranking round.
Even though Muto far outperformed Shanny in the ranking round, Shanny beat him 7-3 on Wednesday, winning three sets, tying one and losing one.
A short while later, Shanny faced Indian opponent Tarundeep Rai, who placed 37th in the ranking round.
That shootout was closer, with each archer winning two sets and another set ending in a tie, meaning that the round was decided by a single arrow, with the side closest to the center advancing to the last 16.
Rai went first, scoring 9 out of 10. A focused and composed Shanny then shot a bullseye 10 and won the overall match 6-5.
His next round will be on Saturday at 3:43 a.m. Israel time. His rival was still to be decided. All final rounds will be held that same day, and Shanny is three wins away from what would be an ultra-surprise medal.
Elsewhere in Tokyo, Kochman won his first fight on the judo mat against David Klammert of the Czech Republic.
But he was then faced with the reigning European champion Lasha Bekauri of Georgia. Despite leading early in the fight, Kochman ended up losing and being knocked out of the tournament.
Also knocked out of the tournament is badminton player Misha Zilberman, who lost any chance of qualifying after a victory by Dutchman Caljouw over B. Sai Praneeth of India.
Zilberman, who beat Praneeth but lost to Caljouw, was hoping the Indian would win. But the Dutchman has now become the sole member of the preliminary group to qualify for the last 16.
Road cyclist Omer Shapira, who almost scored a surprise medal earlier this week in the women’s road race, competed Wednesday in the women’s time trial and placed 15th after traveling 22.1 kilometers in 33:15.84 minutes, three minutes slower than Dutch winner Annemiek van Vleuten.
In RS:X sailing, Yoav Cohen remained in the men’s fifth overall spot after races 7, 8 and 9, in which he placed sixth, seventh and 15th, respectively. He is 14 points behind third place, with three races remaining in addition to a double-score medal race, which only the top 10 will qualify for.
In the women’s event, medal contender Katy Spychakov had a bad day and placed 13th, 13th and ninth in her three races. She dropped from fifth overall to seventh, and is 32 points away from a place on the podium.
Meanwhile, the women’s 470 sailing event began with the first two races, bringing mixed but better-than-expected results for Israeli duo Noya Bar Am and Shahar Tibi.
They scored a dream result in the first race, placing second, but finished 15th in race 2 for an overall seventh place at the end of the first day. This event will have 10 races before the medal race.