India bounced back to start the mixed team their archery campaign at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday with a win as the discipline made its debut at the Games on Saturday.
The duo of world No 1 Deepika Kumari and Olympic debutant Pravin Jadhav came from behind to knock out Chinese Taipei and book a quarter-final berth.
Trailing after they lost the first set by one point and drew the second, Team India needed to win the third set. The duo, who were shooting together at international level for the first time, showed perfect coordination to seal the issue 5-3 in style with two perfect 10s.
Later in the day, the Indian duo will face the winners of top seed Korea and Bangladesh in the mixed pair section, which is making its Olympics debut at Tokyo.
“We need lots of confidence, it’s about putting all our experience and hardwork together here. Just think as if it’s your last Olympics, your only chance. We tried our very best and we will try hard in the upcoming matches. We are determined to win a medal here,” Kumari was quoted as saying by World Archery.
Das had slipped to 35th place, three points behind, Jadhav as the Indian think-tank preferred the Olympic debutant, breaking the Indian mixed pair team that had won the Paris World Cup less than a month ago.
Kumari was, in fact, against the decision but the think-tank preferred Jadhav on current form, pairing them the first time at an international competition.
“It (the decision) mattered, as I really wanted to play with him (Atanu), but it did not happen. Anyway I’ve to continue performing irrespective of the situation,” she said.
“I am a little sad that he is not with me in the mixed team. But we have to shoot, you have to win, so just go ahead,” Deepika added when asked about her husband Das
Their partnership began on a sour note as two 8s cost them the opening set narrowly (35-36), but they bounced back strongly to draw the second set (38-38) by drilling in two perfect 10s.
Jadhav found form and the Indian mixed pair was sensational in the third set, drilling in 40 out of 40 to edge out the opponents by five points (40-35) and make it three-all.
There was drama in store in the decider as the duo trailed by two points (17-19) after two arrows each. In the final two arrows, Lin Chia-En and Tang Chih-Chun shot an 8 and 9 to open the doors for India, and Kuamri and Jadhav clinched it with two perfect 10s.
With PTI Inputs
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