Benitez sets sights on Tokyo after making Paraguay’s Youth Olympic debut
Alejandro Benitez became Paraguay’s first archer to compete in the Youth Olympic Games when he made the trip to Buenos Aires 2018, where he finished ninth.
Seeded 16th with 663 out of a possible 720 points over the 72-arrow 60-metre round, he beat Jason Hurnall of Australia in the first round, 6-4, and then lost to top-ranked Song Injun of Korea, 7-1, in the second.
He averaged 27.5 points per set, some of the best scores of his young career.
“I’m actually very happy with the result. Yes, I lost the match but I shot almost the highest scores I have ever shot in eliminations in my life,” said Alejandro. “[I lost to] Korea, the world number one, but at least I was able to win one point. It was difficult to stay at his pace but, honestly, I did the best I could for my country.”
Song dropped just three points in 12 arrows to take the match. The outcome didn’t come as a shock to Benitez.
“I expected it to be as hard as it was. He was 28 points better than me in qualification but I think I managed to give a good battle,” he said.
“This is something that can change my life completely. It’s not just the Games itself, it’s something I’ve been working on for a long time, very hard. It’s the pay-off for the discipline and efforts I have made. It’s a goal achieved.”
Alejandro only started taking archery seriously about a year ago.
This Youth Olympic appearance has given him the motivation needed to make a run at the Summer Olympic Games.
“I believe I still have a long run in the way. Between World Cups, world rankings events and other international tournaments I plan to prepare well to qualify for Tokyo. That’s my goal now that this one is over,” he said.
“I’ll take the experience and good memories. I now know I can shoot hand-to-hand with someone from Korea and be at the best level.”
The third edition of the Youth Olympic Games takes place on 12-17 October 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.