Although the interest for the British archers had finished short of making into the final session at Lords, the crowds stayed in abundance to see the final part of what has been an enthralling competition.
The archery has been near enough dominated by the South Koreans and the Asian countries and the last eight line up in the men’s individual event see only two people from outside the Eastern archery empire. The men’s finals had been dramatic all the way through but only the most hopeful of souls could have imagined either the Netherland’s Rick Van der Ven or the Ukraine’s Viktor Ruban make inroads to what should be a comfortable win for the Japanese or the Koreans.
The quarter-final stage saw Viktor Rubin crash out 1-7 to South Korea’s Jin Hyek Oh who has been simply impressive over the week that the archery competition has been going. Rick Van der Ven though surprised the form book by beating Chinese Taipei’s Cheng-Wei Kuo to set up a fascinating semi-final against Japan’s Takaharu Furukawa.
There seemed no stopping the Korean though as he came through a difficult semi-final against China’s Xiaoxiang Dai in which went to a shoot-out, a theme that would follow on in the other semi and through to the Bronze medal play off as well. Jin Hyek Oh made sure it was to be yet another South Korean in the final as he scored a nine compared to the Chinese eight.
In the other semi-final Rick Van der Ven bravely stood toe to toe with the Japanese archer but that too also went to sudden death with Furukawa getting the best of the European.
The home of cricket, the hallowed turf may never see anything like this again but it has certainly captured the imagination of the spectators who have attended these games. It has been a week of the most intense archery, a procession of skill of the highest quality and it seems only right that two of the best players went head to head in the final match.
The final was compulsive but as near one sided as Korea won their third gold out of a possible four in the archery. Jin Hyek Oh has to be considered as one of the finest male archers of his time, a genuine spectacle of shooting as he took the gold 7-1. If it inspires a new generation of British archers then not only is he an Olympian of note but also should be considered a Mogul for the new wave.
Gold: Jin Hyek Oh (South Korea)
Silver: Takaharu Furukawa (Japan)
Bronze: Xiaoxiang Dai (China)
Ian D. Hall