Ojas Deotale and Jyothi Surekha Vennam led India’s medal rush with a hat-trick of gold as the compound archers ended South Korea’s dominance to propel the country to its best-ever haul of nine medals at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, on Saturday. The compound archers claimed all the five gold medals on offer while veteran Abhishek Verma and Aditi Swami secured one silver and a bronze each. The recurve archers earlier on Friday bagged two medals, India’s first in 13 years in the Olympic discipline. India had won two silver medals in archery in the 2018 edition in Indonesia.
Reigning world champion Aditi began the penultimate day at the continental showpiece by winning a bronze in the women’s compound individual event when she prevailed over Indonesia’s Ratih Zilizati Fadhly in a one-sided play-off.
The 17-year-old Indian, who bagged the World Championship title in Berlin two months ago, was not at her best and dropped four points but that did not matter much as she won 146-140.
Later Jyothi, who had already secured a gold in mixed pair and women’s team events, made it three in a row when she rallied to defeat her formidable South Korean opponent So Chaewon 149-145 in the women’s compound individual final.
“I feel short of words and lots of emotions are going through. I need some time to give this a thinking,” Jyothi said after clinching India’s first-ever individual gold medal in archery.
In a battle between the top two seeds, Jyothi dropped a point in her last arrow of the first end to trail 29-30 against the second-seeded South Korean.
Shooting first in the next end, Jyothi bounced back strongly with two 10s as So Chaewon slipped to an 8 in the second arrow.
In her final arrow of the second end, Jyothi’s shot was on the edge and upon review she got a 10, which sealed the second set and gave the Indian a one-point lead.
There was no stopping Jyothi from there on as she went on to drill in 12 arrows in the 10-ring to seal a four-point win.
In a battle between the master and apprentice, it was the 21-year-old reigning world champion Deotale who emerged winner by two points.
Deotale, who secured the Worlds title at Berlin, was near flawless and dropped just one point to overwhelm Verma 149-147, which completed India’s overall dominance in the compound section.
Not considered compound heavyweights, South Korea still clinched two gold each in 2018 and 2014 editions.
It was like a dream come true for Deotale who won the Asian and World titles in within two months.
“This was my first Asian Games and I have won gold medals in all three events. What more do I need? I feel like I am living in a dream,” Deotale said.
“It’s everyone’s hard work, not just ours, our government also supports us a lot. My family, coaches (Sergion Pagni and Pravin Sawant) also helped a lot.” Both of them were bang on target hitting all 10s from the first 10 arrows, before the youngster broke away with a slender one-point lead (87-90) after Verma dropped a point in the last shot of the second end.
Deotale then extended his lead by two points after Verma slipped into the red-ring (8) in his second arrow of the third end and from there on there was no looking back for the rising star.
“I had told myself that this is going to be a friendly match between us. But there is still some pressure, no matter how many times we say it’s a friendly match because there is a little pressure.
“It is a gold medal after all, but we knew that whatever happens, it will be for India,” Deotale said.
For the 34-year-old Verma, this was his second Asian Games individual silver medal, having won it in 2014 as well. Verma also has a team gold (2014) and a team silver (2018).
Aditi, who returned with a gold and a bronze in her maiden Asian Games appearance, attributed the success to her coach Pravin Sawant.
“I want to dedicate this medal to my coach because initially he wasn’t coming for the Hangzhou Asian Games, but he came here after much difficulty,” the 17-year-old said.
“It feels very good. I was a little nervous because it was a fight for the bronze medal. If I played well, I would get the medal, and if I didn’t then I wouldn’t. I just gave my best and had faith in my coach and myself.”
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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