NEW DELHI: It has been a long time coming but India’s male recurve archers are finally getting it right on the world stage. Buoyed by their Olympic quota-sealing display on Wednesday, the men’s team comprising of Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das and Pravin Jadhav reached the final of the World Archery Championships for the first time since 2005.
On Thursday, they thrashed Chinese Taipei 6-0 in the quarterfinals before pipping second seeds and hosts Netherlands 5-4 in the semis. The team will face China in the final on Sunday. China ousted Korea 6-2 in the other semifinal. The hosts were led by World No 2 Steve Wijler, a bronze medallist two years ago, while his teammates were 2016 Rio Olympics semifinalist Sjef van den Berg and London 2012 semifinalist Rick.
India were behind twice in the tie, losing the first and third sets. But the trio bounced back and forced a shoot-off. In the tense shoot-off, the Indians shot 29 to pip the hosts by a point. “We’ve worked very hard to reach here,” said Atanu. “The pressure was also off after yesterday and it helped us in giving our best.”
Incidentally, Tarundeep was a member of the silver-winning team at the Madrid World Championships 14 years ago. Recurve archers have flattered to deceive in recent years. The last time they reached the final of a world event was back in 2014 at the Wroclaw Stage IV World Cup in 2014 with Tarundeep, Atanu and Jayanta Talukdar in the team. The team had to settle for silver then.
For a gold-medal winning show, one has to go back to 2010 when India secured top spot at the World Cup Stage IV in Shanghai. Tarundeep was a member of that team as well. “Tarundeep’s comeback has been a huge boon. He guided both Atanu and Pravin during nervous moments,” coach Surinder Singh said.
The coach, as well as Atanu, felt that the 11-day acclimatisation camp in Breda played a huge role in their performance. “We practised in Breda not too far from the venue. It helped us acclimatise to the conditions. Here it is quite cold and there was even rain on Wednesday, as compared to the searing heat in India,” said the 27-year-old.
Fight for bronze
India also remained in the medal contention in the women’s compound team event. Jyothi Surekha Vennam, Muskan Kirar and Raj Kaur, who lost to the USA 226-227, will face Turkey in the bronze-medal playoff on Saturday. In individual events, Jyothi will fight with Yesim Bostan of Turkey for bronze after losing out to Paige Pearce of the US 140-143.
AAI fate on Friday
The performance of archers at the Worlds may be overshadowed by the national federation getting suspended at World Archery’s executive board meeting on Friday. The 15-member executive board will vote on whether to suspend Archery Association of India after evaluating reports submitted by the two parallel elected bodies of the AAI.