#Tokyo10: Danny Castro entering a proving ground at the Olympics

#Tokyo10: Danny Castro.

#Tokyo10 profiles 10 archers poised to make an impact at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

  • Name: Daniel Castro, recurve man from Spain. 
  • Age: 24
  • World ranking: 21
  • Olympic experience: None, he’s a first-timer.

The lone representative from a Spanish recurve men’s team that excelled this year on the international circuit, Danny Castro arrives in Tokyo with tempered expectations due to his unproven reputation.

An individual silver medal at stage one of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Guatemala City, along with a meaningful role on a Spanish men’s team that delivered a historical first gold at the same event, certainly lends credibility to his chances of success in Japan. 

Will he continue his progression as an elite archer among the world’s best at the Olympics?

Daniel Castro shoots at stage one of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Guatemala City.

Reasons for hope 

Many assumed Pablo Acha, the anchor of Spain’s men’s team and the newly minted European Champion, would be getting on the plane to Tokyo, but the Spanish federation decided to send Daniel Castro based on his average finishes in the stages of the Hyundai Archery World Cup.

Now 24 years old, Castro first dazzled as a junior in Spain.

He made his international debut in 2018 in Medellin, where he placed seventh individually. He made the top 10 at the Universiade and the European Games one year later. But it was in 2021 when he – and the Spanish men’s team – made the biggest impression.

Castro finished runner-up in the individual competition in Guatemala City to India’s Atanu Das – and Das needed to come from behind with a 29 and a 30 to eventually shut Castro out. This was after Castro pushed past world-number-12 Steve Wijler of the Netherlands in a shoot-off.

Castro played a vital role in the Spanish men’s team victory over the USA that same day.

That important team gold medal was followed by a silver medal at the second stage of the international circuit in Lausanne. The trio of Castro, Miguel Alvarino and Acha appeared destined for Tokyo.

But at the final team qualifier, it didn’t quite happen.

Still, Castro has a lot to be proud of. He didn’t make the team in 2020, which inspired him to make some changes and commit to them 100%, according to head coach Elias Cuesta. Indeed, Castro exemplifies some of the best young stars in archery: talented and committed to hard work.

“He believes that trusting the process will bring the results,” Cuesta says. “He has a good group of archers around him that push each other to greater heights. Danny deserves everything he worked for, and I am very proud of him.”

Spain was certainly a disappointment not to qualify as a team for Tokyo, but in Castro and fellow individual qualifier Ines de Velasco, the nation has two stars who project well for the future.

More often than not, the titles are won by Olympic debutants. Rising stars, free of the anxiety that prior results at the Games can bring. There might be nobody freer of stress in Tokyo than Castro.

The Spanish recurve men's team celebrates at the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Guatemala City.

Reasons for concern 

Castro is unproven in matchplay against elite opposition; his biggest victory so far is beating Wijler in Guatemala City. This Olympics may be a proving ground for the Spaniard, rather than a podium tilt, but he has the potential – and level – to go all the way. It’s just potential right now, though.

Path to victory

By showing the maturity and discipline he displayed in the team rounds this year. If Castro can focus on his individual status as well as he does in the team rounds, he can go deep – maybe very deep. As he put it: “In the end, it doesn’t matter who I’m shooting against. I just need to do my job, and the outcome will be whatever it will be.”

Did you know?

Castro maintained an arrow average of 9.43 in his breakthrough match against Wijler in Guatemala City – up there with the very best of the elite men. His ceiling is high in Tokyo.

Header artwork by Eduardo Batán Molina.