Both the men’s and women’s archery singles competitions started in earnest at Lords cricket ground today. With the thrill and excitement of the team event now over, it is up to the individual players to prove that they are the best in the world.

Such is the number of competitors at this year’s Olympics that, the qualifying rounds are spread over a couple of days. However this may be frustrating for the large contingent of fans making their way to Lords, it does give a depth of quality to the popular event that may have been sadly diminished if shortened. The added bonus for anyone attending both sessions on the first day of competition was that they were able to see both men and women combatants in action. Thankfully rather than split and segregate the days into male/female days, audiences at Lords and at home watching on the B.B.C. were able to see the best of both worlds during the day’s play.

In the men’s event there was obviously a lot of home interest in Bristol’s Larry Godfrey and also from his superb shooting in the team events, South Korea’s Im Dong Hyun, or as he affectionately known, The Blind Archer. With 20 men battling out to progress to the last 16, both men seemed to be in a rich vein of form and both went through the two rounds on offer today with relative ease. Larry Godfrey’s second game of the day showed the relaxed and spirited Bristol man to be enjoying his good marksmanship as he took apart his young Bangladesh opponent with relative ease.

Mohammed Emdadul Haque Milon is only 19 and he will get other chances but on the day Larry Godfrey was too strong a character to come up against. With the last arrow of the match between the two men, Godfrey only needed 2 points to secure a place in the next round, and it was with some emphatic shooting that he registered a ten, beating the young man by a convincing margin of 9 clear points.

Im Dong Hyun overcame San Marino’s Emanuele Guidi and a sterling effort by Cheng-Pang Wang from Chinese Taipei to progress through. Both men will be joined in the draw by Netherlands’ Rick van der Ven who destroyed all that came into contact with him.

The women’s draw was just as scintillating with Italy’s Pia Lionetti and Aida Roman, the imposing figure of Denmark’s Carina Christiansen and Tan Ya-Ting amongst the winners on the day.

The individual archery competition continues on Tuesday.

Ian D. Hall