CHENNAI:The Indian compound archers’ Diwali celebrations began a few days in advance as they purchased three gold medals from four finals at the biennial Asian Championships in Bangkok on Saturday. Perhaps the metals will take a seat on the puja thali in the homes of Rajat Chauhan, V Jyothi Surekha and the men’s team — Abhishek Verma, Sarvesh Pareek and Rajat — for the festival of lights.
They were not the only medallists though, as the compound women’s squad — Jayalakshmi Sarikonda, Swati Dudhwal and Jyothi — and the women’s recurve trio — Deepika Kumari, L Bombayla Devi and Laxmirani Majhi — settled for silver. On Friday, the recurve mixed team — Jayanta Talukdar and Deepika — won bronze.
Overall, India finished second on the podium behind South Korea, who won five gold. It was revenge of some sort for the latter as the former had topped the medal tally with four gold in the 2013 edition in Taipei City.
Victory was even sweeter for Rajat as he got his hands on a medal he didn’t yet own. Not one but two. “I had made up my mind to not go home empty handed. The last time around, I failed to win a medal or celebrate Diwali. So, it’s great that I’ll get to do both this time,” he told Express from Thailand.
The 19-year-old Jyothi had won team bronze in the 2011 edition in Tehran, but gold is obviously much more special. “I believed in myself and managed to pull it off. Confidence is a big factor in title matches,” she observed.
For the second time in a row, the compound men downed Korea to triumph. Factoring in the Asian Games final, it was their third straight win over the country. “With Iran and Korea in the fray, the level of competition was very tough. To post a hat-trick of wins against a nation like Korea is no mean feat,” Abhishek opined.
India results: Compound: Men: R Chauhan bt Choi YH 145-145 (10*-10); Women: VJ Surekha bt A Shafielavijeh 141-137; Men’s team: India bt South Korea 234-233; Women’s team: India lost to South Korea 232-234. Recurve: Women’s team: India lost to South Korea 3-5.