Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das lost their respective bronze medal matches at the Archery World Cup Final in Yankton, South Dakota on Thursday as India finished the season-ending event without a medal.
In the event featuring the best eight archers in the season in each category, the couple struggled for consistency in their events under cold and overcast conditions here on Friday.
Das lost a one-sided bronze playoff to reigning Olympic champion Mete Gazoz of Turkey 6-0 (27-29, 26-27, 28-30). He doubled up as Deepika’s coach when the top seed lost in a shoot-off to Olympic team bronze-medallist Michelle Kroppen. Deepika was in Das’ coaches’ box for his match too.
Making her eighth WCF appearance, world number two Deepika mis-fired a six to lose 5-6 (6-9) in the shoot-off.
Returning to action after more than two months following her quarterfinal exit at the Tokyo Games, a perfect set of 30 eluded the three-time Indian Olympian as her German rival stepped up early pressure to cruise to a 4-0 lead.
Michelle drilled in perfect scores in the first two sets (30-28, 30-29), while the third was a tie with both the archers shooting 28-all.
The German started to wobble in the fourth set, her arrow landing in the red circle (8), as Deepika seized the opportunity to win the set by one point (28-27).
Down 3-5, Deepika collected another 28 in the make-or-break fifth set to force a shoot-off.
But in the shoot-off, Deepika faltered shooting wide in the blue ring.
A winner of four silver medals and a bronze in the tournament, Deepika started off by defeating Olympic team silver-medallist Svetlana Gomboeva of Russia 6-4 in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, she lost to double Tokyo Olympics silver-medallist Elena Osipova of Russia 6-2.
Das began his campaign with a 6-2 win over Germany’s Maximilian Weckmueller, only to go down to USA’s world number one Brady Ellison 2-6, who fell just short of his sixth gold medal at the event later in the final.
Deepika’s childhood coach B Srinivas Rao was to join the duo at Yankton but the plan was shelved at the last moment, PTI reported.
“We had Lokesh Chand as compound coach, and Rao was to travel there but at last moment the plan was changed,” an official told PTI without getting into specifics.
Earlier on Thursday, ace compound archer Abhishek Verma failed to add to his three World Cup Final medals, making a first round exit with a loss to eventual silver medallist Braden Gellenthien of the USA.
(With PTI inputs)