Deepika Kumari started her campaign in 2017 by finishing fifth in the ranking round at the World Cup Group Stage 1 at Shanghai on Wednesday. Kumari scored a 659, down from the 686 she bagged at the same venue last year.

Kumari started strongly, bagging a 56 with her first set of six arrows before faltering midway with a 52 in her eighth set. She finished with a 57, which propelled her to fifth behind the South Koreans, who finished in the first four positions. Olympic Gold medallist Chang Hye Jin led the field with a score of 673.

The top eight all received byes to the round of 32 and Kumari faces a possible quarterfinal against South Korea’s Kang Chae Young and if she wins that, may set up a semifinal against Chang.

Among the other Indians, Preeti finished 28th and will face Slovakia’s Alexandra Longova in the round of 64 while Monika Saren in 39th will go up against 26th-placed Farida Tukebayeva. Ankita Bhakat, who ranked 46th, has a match-up against Thailand’s Sukanya Buayen in the round of 128.

Atanu has halfway lead but loses it

Meanwhile, Atanu Das started the season with a bang as he held the lead in the men’s recurve section midway through the ranking round with a 343, but lost it as he eventually finished sixth with a score of 677.

Das shot 21 maximums out of his 36 arrows as he surprised everyone, including the four Koreans who dominated the men’s section as well, ranked 1 to 4. World record holder Kim Woojin was at his devastating best in the second half, and holds the lead with a score of 689.

Crucially though, Das finds himself in the draw opposite Woojin and London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Oh Jin Haek and will meet either of them only in the finals if he makes it that far.

Dhaniram Basumatary, Indrachand Swami and Viswash all have matches in the first round, i.e the Round of 128.

Abhishek Verma impresses in the Compound section

The World no 13 Abhishek Verma got off to a flyer, as he finished fourth in the men’s Compound section with a score of 705, just two points behind leader Reo Wilde of the US.

Verma may face the World no 3 Wilde in the quarters, while Jyothi Surekha Vennam and Divya Dhayal finished 10th and 12th respectively in the women’s Compound section.

India’s best chance of a medal may be in the Recurve Mixed section where Kumari and Das’ individual performances have propelled it to second in the combined scores, but there is a long way to go before the top ranked Koreans can be caught.