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Last Updated: Monday, 16 August, 2004, 13:20 GMT 14:20 UK
Fairweather crashes out
Archer Simon Fairweather of Australia
Reigning Olympic archery champion Simon Fairweather suffered a shock first-round defeat in the men's individual competition in Athens on Monday.

The Australian was beaten by Anton Prylepav of Belarus 141-137 in difficult, blustery conditions.

Fairweather, who came out of retirement in 2002 to compete at Athens, was not the only one to struggle with the wind.

Some competitors missed the target altogether - even scores of five or below are rare in elite competition.

India's Majhi Sawaiyan missed with his first two shots as he lost to Sydney silver medalist Vic Wunderle.

"There is some problem with the wind but this is part of the game," said American Wunderle.

The 122cm (48in) diameter target is placed on a larger board so that misses do not fly behind the mark.

it is a great feeling to see the Acropolis next to you
Ricardo Merlos of El Salvador
For added protection at the Panathinaiko Stadium, a three-metre high barrier runs the width of the range, blocking any stray arrows from reaching the busy road that runs past the open amphitheatre.

"The main problem was that wind was coming from different directions and I had to keep adjusting my aim," said Chen Szu-yuan of Taiwan, a first round victor.

"At the same time I think the wind is an advantage as it helps show who the better archer is. Of course, you also need a bit of luck."

Despite Athens' seasonal August winds, organisers insist they are not reason enough to postpone the competition, with only lightning stopping the action.

Magnus Petersson, the Swedish second seed, and third seed Marco Galiazzo of Italy both booked their place in the next round in Monday's first 18-arrow shootout.

South Korean top seed Im Dong-hyun was untroubled by the wind, easily winning his 18-arrow shootout.

There were also wins for other leading contenders Italian world champion Michele Frangilli and South Koreans Park Kyung-mo and Jang Yong-ho.

Only a few hundred spectators witnessed the return of archery to the original 1896 Olympic venue, but the significance was not lost on Dutchman Wietse van Alten.

"This historic stadium has given me strength, because it is a great feeling to see the Acropolis next to you," he said after beating Ricardo Merlos of El Salvador by a point.





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