Itay Shanny makes history with Olympic quota for Israel

Itay Shanny shoots during the final qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

“It's surreal. I’m going to be the first archer from Israel to be at the Olympics,” said Itay Shanny after advancing to the quarterfinals of the final Olympic qualifier in Paris, France.

Words were not enough to convince him. The 22-year-old had just secured himself a quota for Tokyo 2020.

“I need to see on paper my name and Tokyo qualification,” he joked.

Shanny, listed at 130 in the recurve men's world rankings, indeed captured a place in the history of Israeli archery on Monday. 

But it wasn't easy, as he faced a scare in an early-round match against Senna Roos of Belgium. Itay trailed, 3-5, but he managed to fight back to force a tiebreak. He put his arrow into the 9-ring in the shoot-off, while Roos shot an eight. 

Shanny’s next match was equally tense. He and Alen Remar of Croatia tied in four out of five sets.

Only in the second was Itay able to grab two points, and it was enough to earn him an Olympic quota.

“I’ve thought about that moment for a long time in my head,” said Shanny, who uses visualisation techniques as part of his training. “I’m still in sort of shock. I'm not celebrating as maybe I should. It’s amazing, I feel great.”

He was still searching to find the right words to describe his happiness.

The archery competitions at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games start on 23 July – and Shanny will be there.