World Championship triple silver medallist Jyothi Surekha Vennam overcame the mighty Korean challenge twice, including in a gripping but controversial final, to win the women’s compound individual gold at the Asian Archery Championships in Dhaka on Thursday.
Fresh from winning three silver medals at the Yankton Worlds in September, Jyothi defeated 2015 world champion Kim Yunhee 148-143 in a lopsided semifinal, before sealing India’s first gold against Oh Yoohyun with a one-point win (146-145).
Leading by two points going into the final set, the world number six Jyothi shot one 10 and hit the 9-ring twice, which was enough to land India the first gold medal after the Korean hit the 9-ring in a controversial decision.
The entire Korean contingent including the coaches challenged, believing it to be a 10, but the judge ruled it a 9, giving the result in India’s favour.
“The arrow was completely missing 10. All Korean coaches went to the target which is not allowed as per rules to put pressure on the judge. As per the World Archery rules, it is a one judge call and cannot be protested,” said an Indian coach in Dhaka.
Jyothi started off in a spectacular fashion drilling in three perfect 10s to lead 20-29.
But two 9s in the second end meant that the 25-year-old Indian scored 28, as the experienced Korean shot two 10s en route to 29, which levelled the scores 58-all.
Showing great composure, the Andhra archer tilted the match in her favour once again with three 10s from her three arrows in the third set to go ahead 88-86.
Both the archers shot a perfect third round with scores of 30 each and all eyes were on the final end with Jyothi holding on to her slender one-point advantage.
Needing a 10 in the final arrow to take the match to shoot-off, Yoohyun missed the ring by millimetres with the judge ruling out the Korean’s protest.
It turned out to be sweet revenge for the Indian who settled for a silver in the mixed team event after losing to the top seed Koreans by one point to conclude her campaign with two medals. Jyothi had the company of 19-year-old Rishabh Yadav in the mixed pair event.
After being locked 38-all in the opening round, the experienced Korean duo of former world champion Kim Yunhee and Choi Younghee stepped up, shooting four perfect 10s en route to winning it 155-154.
This was India’s second medal of the competition and also for 19-year-old Yadav who had bagged a team bronze along with former Asian Games gold medallist Abhishek Verma and Aman Saini on Wednesday.
Making his debut at the Asian Championships, Yadav outshone his mentor Verma to be the best among the Indians in the individual ranking round and qualify for the mixed team event.
In a game of small margins, the Indian pair managed just two 10s from their four arrows in the second end.
There was an opportunity in the third end when the Koreans shot two 9s, as the Indian pair needed all 10s to square it up. But they managed three 10s from their four arrows as the Koreans held on to their narrow lead to clinch the gold.
A little later in the day, Abhishek Verma won the silver medal in the individual competition at the end of a high quality final against Kim Jongho. The Korean won 149-148 with a total of only three points dropped by both archers combined out of 30 arrows.
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