Abhishek Verma became the third Indian compound archer to book a spot in the 2023 Archery World Cup Final by winning gold in the men’s individual event at the third stage of the season’s World Cup in Medellin, Colombia.

The veteran – who was competing in his first World Cup this season – kept up the momentum that saw him beat world No 1 and top seed Mike Schloesser en route to the final on Thursday. The Indian defeated American defending champion James Lutz 148-146 for the gold.

“I’m very happy, I was remembering the good old days,” Verma told World Archery after the match.

“It doesn’t matter who your opponent is, I just wanted to focus on my shooting and give my best. I’m excited and looking forward to the final.”

Verma and Lutz started the contest well with a perfect End of 30 points each, and then remained level at the second End with another identical score of 29 each.

Lutz, who shot a stunning 150 in the semifinal, then took a one-point lead at the third End as the American scored a perfect 30 and the Indian picked up 29.

Yet the Indian stayed in the hunt, scoring another perfect 30 and Lutz stumbling with an ill-timed 8 to give Verma a 118-119 lead at the fourth End.

And then he hung onto that momentum to strike another 30 as Lutz, the 2019 World Champion, notched up 29 in the fifth and last end for the final 148-146 scoreline.

This was the compound archer’s first individual World Cup gold since the Paris event in 2021 and third World Cup stage gold overall.

Verma, earlier this week, reached the semifinals by defeating the world No 1 and top seed Mike Schloesser in a high-scoring 148-148 quarterfinal with a better 10 in the shootoff.

In the semifinal against Brazil’s Luccas Abreu, Verma started with a 30 while the latter shot three 9s. A 3-point lead in the opening end was always going to be a handy one, and Verma kept Abreu at arm’s length to win the match 148-143.

Verma has now booked a spot for himself in the World Cup Final in Mexico, where compatriots Jyothi Surekha Vennam and Prathamesh Samadhan Jawkar will also be competing as stage winners.

India have already won bronze medals in Medellin in the women’s and men’s compound team events, and men’s recurve team.

On Sunday, India’s Bhajan Kaur and Tushar Prabhakar Shelke will be in action in the mixed team recurve event.