TOKYO, Japan — The famous “Armless Archer” Matt Stutzman beat opponent Shyam Sundar Swami of India in the men’s individual compound with a point total of 142, three points over Swami’s score of 139.
He said he was a little nervous being back at his first major competition after a year, and that he had “a bit of a release problem” with his assistive device that he has to check out, but other than that he enjoyed himself.
“Now that I got that out of the way, bring on round number two,” he said with a laugh.
Kevin Polish came up against Finnish competitor Jere Forsberg, and with 143 points he pulled up just two points short of Forsberg’s 145.
“I still feel pretty good, just didn’t hit the middle- that’s all,” Polish said. “Sometimes you win some, sometimes you lose, and that’s part of it. Still had a good time though.”
Andre Shelby won against Australian opponent Jonathan Milne 143 to 141. Shelby, a retired Navy veteran, won gold in the 2016 Rio Paralympics and became the first Black Paralympic archery champion.
He said he didn’t get into the sport for the titles- for him, it’s all about the love of archery.
“I hope it’s a sight for other people that you can do whatever you want to do.”
He said he hasn’t given much thought to the possibility of winning gold again.
“I’d probably lose my mind,” Shelby said. “Let’s shoot the best trails I can and let’s let happen what happens.”
Stutzman was the one who won silver in Rio.
“[Shelby and I] shoot all the time together, and it’s always 50-50,” Stutzman said, adding that when it comes to them, it’s usually “anybody’s day.”
He said he’s not thinking about Shelby during these competitions, however. He’s more concentrated on his personal goals.
Like so many other Paralympians at Tokyo, Stutzman is keeping his loved ones back home in his thoughts. He had a message for them:
“Thanks for watching, thanks for clapping. I heard you from however many thousands of miles away. I could feel it. I could feel it in my heart,” He said to his family and supporters.