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TOKYO, Japan – It’s been nearly a decade since Jacob Wukie has set foot on the Olympic stage after winning team silver at London 2012. In the meantime, he’s seldom been seen on the international scene as he took some time to focus on building a family; he and his wife have three sweet daughters, but his archery fire stayed lit despite his absence from major competition. Wukie started slow in Tokyo, qualifying 47th, but he climbed the brackets in preliminary matches today, knocking out the 18th and 15th seeds on his way to the top 16.
Wukie appeared calm, cool and composed with an intense focus in his eyes for his first match against Chile’s Andres Aguilar. It was clear that despite the rankings, Wukie was not the underdog. It wasn’t until his 9th arrow of the 12-arrow match that he drifted just outside the gold rings. He cleaned a 7-1 victory to advance.
Then, shooting against Indonesia’s Riau Salsabilla, Wukie’s strong performance continued. On raw score, Wukie had the match in the bag, but with the set system scoring, it was more of a back and forth battle that went to a one-arrow shoot off. Salsabilla fired off an 8 and Wukie responded with a 9 to claim the win.
“I was a little bit nervous, but not bad,” shared Wukie. “The wind, for the most part wasn’t bad, but some shots were tricky and some shots it caught me on, so to an extent that helped me to be able to focus and paying attention to the wind, figuring out the best I can.”
In Wukie’s next match, the 1/8th round, he’ll face teammate Brady Ellison. “I’m looking forward to that match,” shared Wukie. “We knew we were going to meet at this point after the qualification and so, I just have so much respect for Brady as a competitor and as a friend. I want nothing but the best for him; in addition, being a competitor, obviously I want to win, so it’s a bit of a win-win. I’ll be happy for him if he gets it and I’ll be happy if I get it, so it should be a good match and I’m looking forward to it.”
The men’s finals will be contested on Saturday in Tokyo, but before Ellison and Wukie resume competition, USA’s Mackenzie Brown returns to the stage for the women’s finals day on Friday. Follow Team USA via live scores, and tune in for video streaming and broadcast. Photos by Getty Images.
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