Today News Online Service
New Delhi, April 26
Many things went right for the competition-starved Indian recurve archery team in Guatemala. A rare husband-wife gold medal for Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das may be the talk of the town, but it was the Indian team’s ability to find the big points during the tense moments that stood out at the Archery World Cup Stage I in Guatemala City on Sunday.
The battle of nerves started with the women’s team final, in which Deepika struck a perfect score of 10 to stay in the fight. Mexico needed a score of nine to win the shoot-off for gold, but Aida Roman shot a lowly 7 to hand the gold to the Indian trio of Deepika, Komalika Bari and Ankita Bhakat.
Before long, Atanu and Ankita snapped up the mixed team bronze medal 6-2 from the American pair of Casey Kaufhold and Brady Ellison.
However, the real scrap for the golden couple of Indian archery came during their Individual matches in the final.
Deepika edged out USA’s Mackenzie Brown by the tiniest of margins after the duo had finished tied at 5-5 (29-27, 27-27, 27-29, 27-28, 28-29) in the women’s final. In the shoot-off both the archers scored a nine but Deepika was adjudged the winner as her arrow was closer to the centre. Deepika was trailing 3-5 but tied the match with a near perfect score of 29 to Brown’s 28.
“It’s been a long time since I shot in the finals,” Deepika said after winning her third individual gold medal.
“It feels great and, at the same time, I am happy and nervous. It gives me confidence and pushes me to give better performances,” she added.
Moments later, it was Atanu’s turn to hit the spotlight. After winning the opening set 29-28 against Spain’s Daniel Castro, the India ace trailed 2-4. He then nailed the last two sets 28-24 and finally got a perfect score of 30 to win his first-ever individual gold medal.
“It feels amazing. It’s like dreams are coming true. I have worked so hard for so many years, and now this is paying off,” Atanu said.
‘Handled pressure well’
Other than the bagful of medals, chief coach Poornima Mahto said that the team including the youngsters Ankita and Komalika were very consistent during training. “It is not surprising to me as I have been seeing them all do good during training sessions,” Poornima told The Tribune.
“Today’s results are down to those hours spent in training sessions. Nevertheless, the most pleasing thing for me is that we did well during crunch situations in most of the medal matches. Deepika found a 10 in the women’s team final, fought back well in the individual final and even Atanu fought back. We have shown that we are ready for the big tournaments,” she added.
The next challenge would be to do well against shooters from South Korea and China, who were not competing in this tournament.