Tokyo, Aug 27: Rakesh Kumar came up with a brilliant performance in the ranking round to maintain hopes of a medal as all three Indians in the Compound archery section made it to the elimination rounds at the Tokyo Paralympics Games on Friday.
Kumar was the best placed among the three Indians, registering a personal best score of 699 in the 72 arrow ranking round in Men's Individual Compound Open competition at the Yumenoshima Ranking Field. Shyam Sunder Swami was placed 21st in the men's section with a score of 682.
In the Women's Individual Compound Open, India's Jyoti Baliyan was ranked 15th with a season-best score of 671. She also made it to the elimination rounds that will be conducted on Saturday.
In Men's Compound Open, China's He Zihao was leading after the ranking round with a personal best effort of 705. Kumar finished with 699, the same as Iranians Ramezan Biabani and Alisina Manshaezadeh. Biabani took the second spot ahead of Kumar as he had shot 18 arrows in the inner 10 rings (Xs) as compared to 17 by the Indian and 16 by Manshaezadeh.
Swami, the other Indian in the Men's Individual compound Open section, finished 21st after tying with two others on 682 points. He had to be satisfied with the 21st spot as he had fewer Xs compared to Great Britain's John Stubbs and Finland's Jere Forsberg, who was ranked 19th and 20th, respectively.
Jyoti and Rakesh's combined scores gave India a total of 1370, putting them in sixth place in the Mixed Team competition behind China (1388), Russian Paralympic Committee (1386), Turkey (1378), Iran (1376), and Great Britain (1376). India will take on Thailand in the Mixed Team pre-quarterfinals.
Kumar had a superb first half of 36 arrows as he tallied 348 out of a possible 360. He started with 59 out of 60. He shot each of his first arrows in the six rounds of six arrows in the inner 10. He had scores of 59, 57, 59, 58, 58, 57 in the first half.
The 35-year-old from Katra near Jammu who took up archery only in 2016, shot even better in the second half with 351 out of 360 with a perfect 60 in the penultimate round in the 72 arrow ranking round.
Kumar, who lost his ability to walk after sustaining an injury to his spinal cord in a road accident in 2009, had scores of 58. 58, 59, 59, 60, 57 - a score of 8 on his last arrow being the only disappointing score in the entire series.
Both Kumar and Swami were given a bye into the 1/6 Elimination round. Kumar will take on Sulaiman Sulaiman of Iraq while Swami will face Matt Stutzman of the USA. Jyoti will take on Ireland's Kerrie-Louise Leonard in the 1/16 Elimination round.