For the second consecutive Archery World Cup stage of the 2022, the Indian men’s team shone bright in the compound event as they defeated France to clinch gold in Gwangju, South Korea on Saturday.
India’s compound archery trio of Abhishek Verma, Aman Saini and Rajat Chauhan produced a stirring fightback against France in the men’s team final. The trio had won gold medal at the Antalya World Cup earlier in the season, also defeating France in the final.
And as in Antalya where they defeated hosts and top seeds Turkey on their way to the final, India had defeated hosts and top seeds Korea here in the semi-final.
Immediately after that, veteran Abhishek paired up with 17-year-old Avneet Kaur in the mixed team bronze medal playoff where India defeated Turkey, also from a deficit, to finish third.
Meanwhile, 32-year-old Mohan Bhardwaj delivered a stunning performance to win the silver medal in the compound men’s individual event. Competing in his debut World Cup season on tour, the 42nd seed – who was not part of the team event because he was the fourth best in qualification among the Indian men – defeated 2021 Yankton world champion Nico Wiener in the semis before going down to top seed Mike Schloesser in the final.
Here’s a look at the winning moments in the men’s compound team final:
Here’s how the compound men’s team final panned out:
End 1: France scored a 57 in the first end. Verma shot a 8 with his second arrow but Saini and Chauhan finished with 2 10s to make sure the deficit was just one point.
End 2: All six archers impressed in this end, with both teams registering 58 out of 60. India put pressure on France with 10-10-10 in their second set of arrows but France too responded similarly to keep their overall one-point lead at 115-144.
End 3: And then came the turning point. Shooting first as they trailed, Indians started the round with three 10s. France found themselves under immediate pressure with a couple of 9s. The Indian trio finished superbly with three more 10s for a perfect round of 60 while France managed just 56. A one-point deficit had been turned into a three-point lead by India at 174-171.
End 4: India now just needed a steady end to the match and they managed a 58 to France’s 59 to clinch the gold medal.
“The feeling is good,” said Verma after the final. “We were the best in Turkey and we proved it again (here). We are very happy about that.”
In the compound mixed team bronze medal playoff, India trailed 77-79 after two ends, and 116-117 after three ends. But a perfect 40 from Abhishek-Avneet put Turkey under pressure, and the final arrow was a 8 that gave a thrilling win to India.
Earlier in the event, the Indian women’s team of Avneet Kaur, Muskan Kirar and Priya Gurjar lost their semi-final to South Korea 228-230, but defeated Turkey 232-231 to earn the third spot on the podium.
Ridhi, Ankita and Komalika Bari had won the bronze medal in the recurve women’s team event. However, the recurve archery events otherwise proved to be disappointing with no Indian interest on the finals day on Sunday.