Can she bring home a medal?
THIS is the question facing San Yu Htwe, Myanmar’s best hope at an Olympic medal in decades. The 30-year-old archer will shoot tonight starting at 6:30pm local time in the women’s individual round of 16.
Odds are against her: She faces off against world number one Ki Bobae, the defending gold medallist in women’s archery from London 2012. Ki Bo-bae has already won a gold medal at this year’s Olympics as part of South Korea’s group team, but she’ll be eager to repeat her individual Olympic glory from four years ago.
But if San Yu Htwe can pull off the upset, she will move up to the quarterfinals, held later tonight. At that point, all bets are off for Myanmar’s golden hope, who came into elimination rounds ranked a lowly 51 out of 64 competitors.
A win in the quarterfinals would put her in the final four, giving her the luxury of being able to lose one match and still compete in the bronze medal showdown. Of course, San Yu Htwe would hope to win her semi-final, guaranteeing at least a silver and giving her a shot at gold.
It’s been an incredible journey for San Yu Htwe, who only picked up archery four years ago, in advance of Myanmar’s turn to host the SEA Games in 2013. She won bronze at those Games, and has gone on to win three golds, five silvers and eight other bronzes in regional competitions.
Heading into Rio, she told The Myanmar Times that she “could not hope to win a medal”. But after beating Finland’s Taru Kuoppa (ranked 14) and American Mackenzie Brown (ranked 19), maybe San Yu Htwe can carry a little more confidence into her head-to-head showdown with the world’s best archer.
San Yu Htwe has already upset two of the world’s best. Now she faces off against the legendary Ki Bo-Bae, the world’s greatest.