The Indian recurve archers finished with silver medals in the men’s and women’s team events with the Koreans proving to be too strong at the Asian Archery Championships in Dhaka on Friday.
The Indian archers also bagged a bronze in the recurve mixed team event with an easy 6-0 win over Uzbekistan as the contingent concluded their campaign at the continental showpiece with one gold, four silver and two bronze medals. Jyothi Surekha Vennam, in fact, was the only non-Korean archer to win the gold medal at the entire event.
No Indian recurve archer made it to the semifinal stage in the individual events with four Korean men and four Korean women competing for three medals in both categories.
In the last edition too, India had won seven medals (1-2-4), although the archers bettered the silver medal’s count this time, reported PTI.
Even if Korea had not sent any of their Olympic squad members for the continental event, the competition once again showed the country’s extraordinary depth of talent. For the Indians, minus Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das who had not made the squad for the tournament, the consistency was lacking in the crucial moments.
The men and women lost both their finals to their perennial nemesis which meant that India are yet to win a gold in the Olympic discipline since 2013. The duo of Jayanta Talukdar and Deepika Kumari were the last gold medallists in recurve section – they had won the mixed team event in Taipei eight years ago. The recurve men’s team last won a gold way back in 2007, while the women are yet to.
At the Bangladesh Army Stadium in Banani, the script unfolded on expected lines with the men’s recurve team of Kapil, Pravin Jadhav and Parth Salunkhe going down 2-6 (52-57, 53-55, 56-54, 55-57) to top seeds Lee Seungyun, Kim Pil-Joong and Han Woo Tack.
The second seeded Indians managed to clinch one set, but Pravin Jadhav could not quite find the inner rings of 9 or 10 consistently enough and it proved costly.
The women’s recurve team of Ankita Bhakat, Madhu Vedwan and Ridhi proved to be well off the pace in their final as they lost to Ryoo Su Jung, Oh Yejin and Lim Haejin 0-6 (57-52, 59-49, 56-60). The Koreans stepped it up gradually, shooting sensational sets of 57, 59 and then a perfect 60 to seal the issue.
The recurve mixed team of Kapil and Ankita Bhakat later won 6-0 (35-32, 37-32, 36-35) against Uzbekistan’s Abdusattorova Ziyodakhon and Amirkhan Sadikov. While it was not ideal for the second seeds to be in bronze medal contention after defeat against Bangladesh in the semi-final, they did not let the opportunity slip to finish on the podium.
India’s only gold of the meet came courtesy World Championship triple silver medallist Jyothi Surekha Vennam in the compound women’s individual event. Jyothi showed the way on Thursday when she overcame the Korean challenge twice, including in a gripping but controversial final en route to winning her second Asian medal. She had last won the gold in 2015.
Jyothi won 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.
India bagged another silver in the compound men’s individual event after former Asian Games gold medallist Abhishek Verma lost to Korea’s Kim Jong Ho. Rishabh Yadav had bagged a compound men’s team bronze along with Verma and Aman Saini to open India’s account on Wednesday.
(With PTI inputs)