TOKYO: India's No. 1 men's recurve archer Atanu Das has stated that he just tried to maintain his focus in a nerve-wracking shoot-off against South Korea's Oh Jin Hyek as he cruised into the third round of men's individual event here at the Yumenoshima Ranking Field on Thursday.
"It was a tense moment. I've faced shoot-offs before. I knew he was shooting first, and if he would shoot a nine, I could win it," World Archery quoted Atanu as a saying. "I just tried to maintain my focus. It was a tense moment, a win or lose situation. So I just went for the win."
"We're giving out best, so let's see what happens," he added.
Aiming first in the shoot-off, Jinhyek shot a 9 to which Atanu replied with a brilliant 10 and sealed the match. With this win, Atanu has cruised into the 1/8 eliminations round where he will face the silver medallist of London 2012 -- Japan's Takaharu Furukawa. Notably, Oh Jin Hyek was the gold medalist in the same Olympics.
"I could feel a strong wind over my body and I struggled to aim. It was quite a difficult match for me. I don't think I was very good. I am not sad. I am okay. I did all I can do," Korean legend Hyek said after the match.
He also expressed his disappointment for being denied the chance to play the mixed team event with his world no 1 wife Deepika Kumari, whom he credited for his stunning win.
A week after their mixed team partnership was split up, the duo's bonding was well evident during Das' upset last-32 win over Oh Jin Hyek, who had won the men's team gold here.
Deepika was seen shouting from the gallery to cheer her husband who came from being 2-4 down to win in the shootoff.
The duo thus remains the only Indian archers in medal fray, advancing to their respective pre-quarter finals.
"I was listening to her full time. She was pushing me: 'believe in myself', 'you can do it', 'just stay calm and handle the situation'," Das said in the mixed zone after his 6-5 (10-9) win.
"She is world number one and I'm privileged to have my wife in this competition. It was a great support and motivation for me."
Das was denied a chance to recreate his chemistry with Deepika in the mixed pair section after he slipped four places behind Olympian debutant Pravin Jadhav, who stood 31st in the ranking round.
The Indian think tank went by the rankings, ignoring the star couple's gold medal feat at the Paris World Cup, less than a month back.
The duo of Jadhav and Deepika, pairing up for the first time, made a quarterfinal exit going down to their Korean rivals.
"I expected to play with her in the mixed team but unfortunately it was not possible. I don't know why," Das said.
"But it's quite satisfying (as we both are in the last-16). We are giving our best. Let's see what happens."
He next faces home favourite Takaharu Furukawa, an individual silver medalist at London 2012 and a team bronze medalist here.
Das and Deepika, who tied the knot in June last year following a two-year courtship, are the first Indian couple to take part in the same discipline in the Olympic Games.
Asked whether they stay together at the Games Village, he said: "I stay with the men's team. She stays separately in the Village, but most of the time we are together."
"Please pray for us, please encourage us. We need your support and hopefully we'll come out with the flying colours," Das concluded.
(With PTI Inputs)