Itay Shanny, an Israeli archer, is preparing for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
I. Shanny Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
After finishing 60th out of 64 men on the first day of qualification for the archery competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Itay Shanny did not exactly inspire confidence in his fellow competitors.
Shanny, the first Israeli archer to compete in the Olympics, had a tough first-round opponent in local favourite Hiroki Muto, who was also the decisive arrow in the men’s team bronze medal match.
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In Contrast, Shanny’s Credentials looked a lot less Impressive.
Although he insisted that he had other business in Tokyo, he still had an uphill battle in the face of a very strong competition and was unlikely to go to the finals.
Shanny, who beat the odds to win two bouts and finish ninth in the men’s individual competition, remarked, “I think that sort of worked to my advantage.”
They didn’t think I’d come out on top,” he went on, “but I did. I didn’t have much to fret about, to put it mildly. That was unexpected by everyone.
Actually, nobody other than Shanny and his coach Guy Matzkin made Israel’s Olympic début in archery a smashing success.
The 22-year-old stunned the fifth-ranked Muto, winning easily by a score of 7-3. This victory gave the Israeli youngster some much-needed confidence before taking on and defeating the Indian veteran Tarundeep Rai in a second-round tiebreak.
Shanny’s unexpected run ended in the round of 16 after he lost to Tang Chih-Chun of Chinese Taipei in a shootout for the second time in as many rounds. Tang hit the centre for a 10, while Shanny’s arrow fell in the nine, tying the match at five sets apiece and putting a berth in the quarterfinals on the line.
Coach Matzkin, who was awarded a quota spot to compete in London 2012 but did not do so since the Israeli Olympic Committee denied the offer, stated, “I’m extremely happy of Itay.
“We talked a lot about having the guts to go out there, and how it doesn’t matter which stage it is, which arrow or shoot-off — just go out there and do your normal thing.”
Shanny’s participation in the Olympics in Tokyo was a natural fit for the rest of the Israeli team, which won a record amount of medals in a single Olympics.
Rallying for Competitors like Avishag Semberg,
The young archer and his colleagues gathered in a common area of the Olympic village to watch taekwondo and judo competitions, yelling encouragement at the television.
Later, after his victory over Muto and Rai, Shanny was the recipient of similar expressions of adulation.
Shanny was particularly encouraged by the reaction of three-time judo world champion Sagi Muki, who came up to him after the competition to congratulate him on his achievement.
“These are the faces and names you’ll recognise when you visit the Olympic team’s Instagram or see them on the news,” Shanny explained. “Wow, that’s great to see up close,” he said.
Shanny was similarly excited to see so many of the world’s top archers in one spot, though he was careful not to come across as an overzealous admirer when he introduced himself to them.
To him, they remained his rivals. It’s possible that Shanny wasn’t sought for as much as other, more skilled archers in terms of interviews. However, the fact that he was sitting in a prime position on the day of the finals showed that he had truly arrived as a top-tier athlete.
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For Example, Shanny Noted,
“Looking at the bracket, and just generally down the shooting line, there are some big names — either big names or people who I’ve talked to over the years and saw during competitions — and some of them were shooting with me in the one-eighth finals, and some of them didn’t make it.”
“It makes me feel like, ‘OK, I’m in with the big boys now,’ you know what I mean?” It ends here. I am present.
For an athlete who has suffered with confidence issues at various periods of his career, Shanny’s achievement in Tokyo has provided solid confirmation of his credentials as an athlete. He will forever be an Olympian – the first archer to compete at a Games from Israel.
The attention, he said, has been, at times, disconcerting. In addition, it serves as a constant reminder of his value, both on and off the field.
“I came here to do my job: I go up to the line and I shoot sticks at a target,” Shanny added. “But the consequences of it are so much broader. So many individuals have reached out to me to say they’re rooting for me and tracking my progress.
His supplementary “Of course that means a lot to me” emphasised the extent to which he valued the compliment. To some, though, it has considerably greater significance. What you’re experiencing is, in my opinion, a unique emotion. The opportunity to do so is quite rare.