The Yumenoshima Park Archery Field will turn into a battlefield when Para Archery competition at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games kicks off on August 27, 2021.
There will be several keenly contested matches in various categories as Paralympic and world champions come out to settle scores and showcase their sharp shooting skills.
Perhaps the greatest rivalry to revive at the Games will be between the I.R. Iran’s Rio 2016 gold medallist Zahra Nemati and the silver medallist Wu Chunyan of China, both of who will compete in the Women’s Individual Recurve Open category.
Nemati is arguably the most popular and successful female Paralympian to come from Iran. She competed at both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio and had the honour of carrying the flag for her delegation at Opening Ceremony. She beat Chunyan to the Gold medal in Rio and then again took the gold at the 2017 Para-Archery World Championships in Beijing with Chunyan this time in third.
However, Chunyan avenged her losses at the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games by winning gold over Nemati.
“I am undergoing different types of training – technical and physical fitness – every day. Even this competition (Fazza Tournament) was part of our training as due to this pandemic, there was no competition. It was great to be in the field to test my strength and work on my weakness. I want to continue repeating my achievements in Tokyo 2020 and further,” said Nemati, also the London 2012 gold medallist, who took the silver at the Dubai 2021 Fazza Para Archery Championships.
Apart from Nemati, Iran would be hoping that Gholamreza Rahimi could defend his gold medal against the likes of reigning world champion Suresh Selvathamby from Malaysia, Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games and world champion in Mixed event Ai Xinliang and Thailand’s Rio 2016 Silver medallist Hanreuchai Netsiri will be among others in Men’s Compound Open event.
Nur Syahidah among favourites
In the women’s compound open, Singapore’s reigning world champion Nur Syahidah Alim will be the one to beat. She has been in red-hot form after her Worlds show and would be gunning for her first Paralympic gold. However, watch out for China’s Asian Para Games champion Lin Yueshan who could surprise everyone.
The archery competition will also see one of Bhutan’s four athletes competing when Rigsel Pema enters the Men’s Individual W1 Open.
Bhutan were welcomed to the Paralympic family at the 2017 IPC General Assembly when the National Paralympic Committee was ratified as members of the IPC. This will be the first time that their athletes have competed at an international multi-parasport event.
The competition will take place over nine days with the first medals to be decided on August 28, 2021.
Whilst China are expected to dominate the Para Athletics medal table as they did at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Uzbekistan will be hoping to continue their upward trajectory that saw them leap into the top ten nations at the Dubai 2019 World Para Athletics Championships after their 20th placed finish in Rio.
Strong performances in the field events ensured that they took home four gold medals and two each of silver and bronze, with Khusniddin Norbekov setting a new World Record of 17.32 in the F53 Men’s Shot put along the way.
Expect a traditionally strong showing from Thailand in the wheelchair racing, led by T54 legend and double gold medallist in Rio, Prawat Wahoram.
For China, all eyes will be on Hongzhuan Zhou who is hoping to end her glittering career on a high in Tokyo. She has won an impressive 11 Paralympic medals, including six golds, and seven world titles across sprint and middle-distance races and will be hoping to fend off the youngsters who beat her at the Dubai 2019 World Championships.
For the host nation, T52 Wheelchair racer Tomoki Sato will be hoping to turn his 2016 Paralympic silver medals into gold, repeating his victories in the T52 400m and 1,500m at both the 2017 and 2019 World Championships.
The Para athletics will take place at the Olympic Stadium from 27th August to 5th September. 167 medal events will be contested (93 men, 73 women, 1 mixed).