Japan’s Tomatsu podiums at 17 years old
Daisuke Tomatsu of Japan took an individual silver medal in Yankton in the recurve men’s event at the World Archery Indoor Championships, aged just 17 years of age.
After dispatching his teammate and London 2012 silver medallist Takaharu Furukawa in the first round of eliminations after qualification, he said: “I just wanted to go out there and do it.”
He appeared nerveless moving through the brackets, leaving behind Brady Ellison’s conqueror Cedric Rieger, Oleksii Hunbin of Ukraine and Crispin Duenas of Canada in consecutive matches.
As the gold medal match beckoned, he said:
“How confident am I about Sunday? On a scale of one to 10, I’d say about nine. Today I did so well, and my scores were very high, and most importantly they stayed at a high level. If I can keep this feeling on Sunday, I can be at the top.”
It was an assertive response from a young man whose previous best international result had been a team bronze from the World Archey Youth Championships in Rosario in 2017.
He was one of two Japanese archers to make a recurve final in Yankton.
In Sunday’s gold medal match against Sjef van den Berg of the Netherlands, Tomatsu started strong, but his visible tension started to work against his shot, as Sjef found the 10 ring and pulled away.
“Today I got nervous. My muscles were getting tense and my body wasn't moving well,” he said.
The silver medal remains an impressive result for the 17-year-old archer from the Aichi prefecture – the home of the Asian Games as far in the future as 2026 – who visited the USA for the first time this February.
“Here is the first time I’ve seen Brady Ellison shoot. I think I could learn something from him,” said Tomatsu
“But I’m proud of what I achieved in Yankton. I'm fine with the silver medal. But the gold medal is better.”
With just two years until Japan hosts the Olympic Games, and a year before the spyglass really falls on the home country’s own team preparations, a strong performance from a young athlete on the world stage is encouraging.
His mindset, too, is intriguing. Can you describe archery in one word, he was asked.
“My girlfriend,” he replied.
The 2018 World Archery Indoor Championships took place in Yankton, USA on 14-19 February.