Aditi Gopichand Swami dropped only one point on her way to winning India’s first-ever individual gold medal at the World Archery Championships in Berlin when she beat Mexico’s Andrea Bercerra 149-147 in the individual women’s compound event final on Saturday.
Later on in the day, Ojas Pravin Deotale held his own during a stiff challenge posed by Poland’s Lukasz Przybylski to clinch gold in the individual men’s compound event final, beating him 150-149.
The Under-18 world champion had breezed past compatriot Jyothi Surekha Vennam in the semi-final earlier in the day, beating the eventual bronze-medallist 149-145.
Both Swami and Vennam were also part of the team that had won India’s first-ever gold medal at the World Championshipswhen the duo along with Parneet Kaur won the gold in the women’s compound team event on Friday.
Swami, who had faced Becerra in the team compound final on Friday, began well in the first two ends to lead the Mexican 60-59 after two perfect scores. Becerra faltered in the third end to extend Swami’s lead to two points.
It was all but Swami’s game after the fourth end with the score at 120-117, but the 17-year-old stumbled at the start of the fifth end, scoring her only nine of the match, but regained her composure to win India’s first-ever gold medal at the World Championships.
“I am very proud, I wanted to hear the 52 seconds of the national anthem to be played at the World Championships,” said Swami, speaking to World Archery after the final. “I was focusing on my rhythm, on my shot, and therefore I could perform.”
“This is just the start. We have the Asian Games coming up, I want to win gold for the country and continue to win team gold for the country.”
The men’s compound final saw Deotale face off against Przybylski in a very close contest in which both archers went toe-to-toe in their scores.
It was only in the fourth end that the Polish archer slipped up in his second shot and scored a nine, allowing Deotale to take a slim lead.
The 21-year-old maintained perfect form till the end to close out the final with a perfect score of 150 and win India’s second gold medal of the day and third overall of the tournament.
Deotale’s run to the final began by facing Poland’s Przemyslaw Konecki in the quarter-final where the Indian dropped a point in the first and third end and closed out the match with a scoreline of 148-144.
In the semi-final, Deotale had a tough opponent in former world champion Mike Schloesser from the Netherlands. The duo kept pace with each other all through the first two ends, but an uncharacteristic mistake from the Dutchman in the third end gave Deotale the edge he needed.
Although both archers shot 29 in the fifth end, a one point lead was enough for Deotale to secure a medal in the individual men’s compound event.
For Vennam, she managed to defeat teammate Kaur by six points after the latter trailed in the fourth end, shooting all nines to Vennam’s perfect scores.
The semi-finals saw the veteran Vennam line up against her much-younger teammate Swami and an assurance that India will have at least one of its archers on the podium.
Both archers were level on the scoreline after the first two ends at 59-59, but Swami got the edge she needed when Vennam closed out the third end with a nine. The U18 champion continued with a perfect score in the fourth end while Vennam trailed by two points after the fourth end.
In the fifth and final end, Vennam began with an eight and lost despite getting two tens to close out her match. The 27-year-old adds to her tally of World Championship medals, having won silver in 2021 and bronze in 2019 in the individual events.
The bronze-medal match between Vennam and Turkey’s Ipek Tomruk was more straightforward for the Indian who didn’t make a single mistake throughout the match and ended with a perfect score of 150 to Tomruk’s 146 to secure the bronze medal for India.
“We are very happy that we are taking back two gold medals, we hope that this will continue and that the tradition will continue and that we will be able to get more and more gold medals for the country,” said Vennam when speaking to World Archery after her bronze medal match.