Since its return to the Olympics in 1972 after a near 50-year absence, South Korea have dominated the sport of archery.
Coming into the Tokyo Games, South Korea boasted a record on 24 golds from 40 events contested having won at least one gold in each summer Games since 1984. That impressive record also included a clean sweep of all gold medals in the men’s and women’s events at Rio 2016. It was an historic feat they’re heavily favoured to repeat this summer and their quest started in impressive fashion as they made yet more history on Saturday.
Archery is one of a number of sports featuring new disciplines this summer. The debut mixed event saw An San, 20, and her 17-year-old partner Kim Je Deok beat the Dutch pair of Gabriela Schloesser and Steve Wijler 5-3 from one set down to take the gold at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field.
"I dreamed about the gold medal and good results," teenager Kim said. "Our coach told us not to lose focus after we lost the first set."
The tandem are part of the next generation of archers looking to live up to the standards set by their predecessors.
"There still was pressure," insisted An, who had previously broken the 25-year-old Olympic shooting points record set by Ukranian Lina Herasymenko in 1996 with a score of 680 points out of 720. "But we did our best. After this Olympics, we’re not sure if we’re selected for the next Olympic Games."
There are four more golds medal on offer for South Korea as they look to complete their second straight sweep.
There were no medals to talk of for Germany as Saturday’s events produced mixed results.
In the tennis doubles, Alexander Zverev and Jan-Lennard Struff beat the fifth-seeded Polish pairing of Hubert Hurcacz and Lukasz Kubot 6-2, 7-6 (7-5) to reach the Round of 16.
However, there was a disappointing loss to Spain for Germany’s handball team, while the women’s beach volleyball teams were both beaten 2-1 by Switzerland.
Other Gold medals
China were the first to claim gold at Tokyo 2020 as Yang Qian beat Antasiia Galashina of the Russia Olympic Committee (ROC) in a tense women’s 10m air rifle final. Zhihui Hou added a second gold for China after she topped the women’s 49kg weightlifting charts before Yiwen Sun capped of a dream start with a third in the women's Epee Individual fencing.
Elsewhere, Japan vanquished any hosting jitters they may have had by sealing their first gold in the men’s 60kg judo. Naohisa Takato defeated Chinese Taipai’s Yang Yung-wei to send local fans into raptures. Ecuador sealed just their second-ever Olympic gold medal, as cyclist Richard Carapaz defeated reigning Tour De France winner Tadej Pogačar to win the 234km-long time trial. And finally Distria Krasniqi of Kosovo prevented a second Japanese gold after she beat Funa Tonaki in the women's 48-kilogram judo final.