Japan names archery team for home Olympic Games in Tokyo
Recurve men Takaharu Furukawa, Hiroki Muto and Yuki Kawata and recurve women Ren Hayakawa, Azusa Yamauchi and Miki Nakamura will represent host country Japan at this summer’s delayed Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The last selection event concluded on Sunday under brutal conditions.
Typhoon-force winds, an earthquake to the northeast that was felt in the capital and the ongoing pandemic all layered challenges on top of a ruthless process of elimination for the 10 remaining candidates – five men and five women – that began the final trial on Saturday.
The first day saw archers shoot one 72-arrow, 70-metre ranking round, after which the lowest scorer was eliminated.
The remaining four men and four women did the same on day two, with the top three finishers making the team. The scores tell the story of just how tough the conditions were.
Yuki Kawata led the men on just 640 of a possible 720 points on day two, while Ren Hayakawa had the top women’s result with 633. (Both were around 30 points down on the previous day.)
The trials took place at Yumenoshima Park, which is the Olympic venue.
The final Japanese line-up is a stark combination of experience and promising youth.
Tokyo will be Furukawa’s fifth consecutive Olympics. He took the individual silver medal at his third in London in 2012. Hayakawa was a team bronze medallist at those same Games while Muto shot at the Youth Olympics in 2014.
The remaining three archers, who will all make their Olympic debuts this summer, have varying levels of international experience but little in the way of proven results in outdoor competition.
In an interesting wrinkle, 22-year-old Yamauchi – easily the least experienced of the sixth athletes – is coached by Furukawa, and they both shoot at Kindai University. An obvious leader in this team, Furukawa also recently became a father.
“I’m aiming for success in the future, not what’s happened in the past, so I’m going to have to maintain this effort,” he said. “Thank you to all my family, management, coaches and Kindai University, who have always supported me.”
As the host country, Japan automatically received a full quota of six athletes – three men and three women – for the archery competitions at the upcoming Olympic Games.
The last time an archer from the host nation climbed the Olympic podium was in Beijing in 2008, when China’s Zhang Juan Juan won women’s gold.
Archery at Tokyo 2020 begins with qualification on 23 July 2021.
Japan at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
As of the results of the final trials on Sunday 21 March 2021.
- Yuki Kawata
- Takaharu Furukawa
- Hiroki Muto
- Hideki Kikuchi (reserve)
- Ren Hayakawa
- Miki Nakamura
- Azusa Yamauchi
- Ohashi Tomoka (reserve)
Thanks to George Tekmitchov. Selection shoot photos courtesy Japanese federation.