Deepika Kumari remains in hunt for fourth individual World Cup gold
Indian archer Deepika Kumari stayed in hunt for her second successive gold by moving to the women's recurve individual semi-finals of the World Cup Stage 3
Indian archer Deepika Kumari stayed in hunt for her second successive gold by moving to the women's recurve individual semi-finals of the World Cup Stage 3 on Wednesday. The world number three, who had won the World Cup Stage 1 in Guatemala City in April this year, overwhelmed 2012 London Olympics silver medalist Aida Roman of Mexico 6-0.
Shrugging off her disastrous show in Sunday's Final Olympic Qualifier team event, Deepika reigned supreme with scores of 29, 28 and 28 that included four perfect 10s with two closest to the centre (X) to knock out the veteran Mexican. The second seed Deepika has another Mexican challenger in sixth seed Ana Vazquez. Rest of the Indians, including World Cup stage one champion Atanu Das, made early exits as the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medalist remained the only hope in the individual recurve section.
Following her disastrous show in the Final Olympic Qualifier team event, Deepika shot consistently as she began her elimination round by blanking Elena Tonetta of Italy 6-0. Ankita Bhakat also joined Deepika in the last-16, defeating Angeline Cohendet of France 7-1, while teenager Komalika Bari lost to Ines De Velasco of Spain 4-6. In the pre-quarters, Deepika bounced back from being 1-3 to defeat Charline Schwarz of Germany in a hard-fought five setter 7-3, while left-handed Ankita made an exit, going down to Russian Elena Osipova 2-6.
In the men's individual events, Das lost to Jack Willimas of USA 5-6 (8-9) in the shootoff, while Pravin Jadhav lost to Patrick Houston of Great Britain 2-6 in the pre-quarters. Veteran Army archer Tarundeep Rai made a last-32 exit, losing to Nicholas D'Amour of Virgin Islands in shootoff 5-6 (9-10).
Earlier, Abhishek Verma and Jyothi Surekha Vennam emerged the best placed Indians with their respective 11th and 15th place finishes in the qualification round of men's and women's compound sections. In their first international competition in about two years, the Indian compound archers appeared rusty. The two-time World Cup champion Verma logged 706 points. Aman Saini was next best at 21st place (704) and was followed by Rajat Chauhan's lowly 42nd (697) place finish.
The trio tallied 2107 points to take the sixth place to set up an opening round clash against 11th placed Sweden. Indian compound women's team finished sixth with 2066 points and it will face 11th ranked France in the opening round elimination match. Individually, Jyothi shot 695 points to take 15th place while Saanchi Dhalla (690) and Akshita (681) occupied the 22nd and 32nd places respectively. In the mixed pair event, Verma and Jyothi are placed ninth and will get a bye into the last-16 where they will face eighth-ranked Russia.
The Indian compound archers had last competed in the Asian Championships in Bangkok in November 2019 where the duo of Verma and Vennam had upset Chinese Taipei to clinch a gold medal. The compound team was forced to withdraw from the season-opening first stage of the World Cup in Guatemala after its coach's "false positive" report of COVID-19.