Star Indian archers – Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das – would look to start afresh after their Tokyo Olympics disappointment when they compete in the World Cup Final, starting Yankton, US on Thursday.
The two-day showpiece competition will also mark the return of the duo who couldn’t make the cut to the Indian senior team for the just-concluded World Championships at the same venue.
The duo competed on its own at SAI, Kolkata and the two would look to make amends for their medal-less outing in Tokyo Olympics.
An Olympic medal remained elusive for the Indian archers despite their impressive build-up to the Games.
Competing as world number one, Deepika Kumari, who was the lone Indian woman archer in the fray, made a quarter-final exit with a loss to Korean sensation An San.
Das was the best among the Indian men but he also bowed out in the pre-quarterfinal, while they lost to Korea in both men’s team and mixed pair sections.
With the losses still fresh in their minds, the duo would look to start afresh in the two-day World Cup Final.
Deepika, who has slipped to world number two, has four silver and a bronze medal from seven appearances at the World Cup Final, and it remains to be seen whether she is able to match the feat of Dola Banerjee.
Dola is the only Indian to have won a gold at the premier competition, in 2007.
Deepika will start against 23-year-old Russian Svetlana Gomboeva, fresh from her team silver at the Tokyo Olympics.
For Das, this will be his first World Cup Final appearance and he has an easy draw against Germany’s Maximilian Weckmueller, who won a silver at stage two of the World Cup in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The best eight archers from four stages of the World Cup qualify for the World Cup Final, which will see a total of 32 competitors across men’s and women’s recurve and compound sections.
This time India would have a participation in the compound section, where Abhishek Verma is the lone qualifier, after winning a gold at the third stage of the World Cup in Paris.
The 2014 Asian Games gold medallist Verma will face world number 4 Braden Gellenthien of the USA in his quarterfinal fixture later in the day.
Verma has two individual medals – one silver (2015) and a bronze (2018) – at the World Cup Final and he also has a silver in the mixed pair event with Jyothi Surekha Vennam in 2018.
Verma will look for his first gold medal in three appearances at the World Cup Final.
Recurve men: Brady Ellison (USA) vs Mauro Nespoli (ITA); Atanu Das (IND) vs Maximilian Weckmueller (GER); Jack Williams (USA) vs Yun Sanchez (ESP);
Mete Gazoz (TUR) vs Nicholas D’Amour (VIR).
Recurve women: Deepika Kumari (IND) vs Svetlana Gomboeva (RUS); Elena Osipova (RUS) vs Ana Vazquez (MEX); Michelle Kroppen (GER) vs Casey Kaufhold (USA); Lisa Unruh (GER) vs Mackenzie Brown (USA).
Compound men: Mike Schloesser (NED) v Adrien Gontier (FRA); Mathias Fullerton (DEN) vs Jozef Bosansky (SVK); Braden Gellenthien (USA) vs Abhishek Verma (IND); Kris Schaff (USA) Federico Pagnoni (ITA).
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