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Asian Games 2018

Troublesome Trend: Compound Archery proves to be India's saving grace yet again

Troublesome Trend: Compound Archery proves to be Indias saving grace yet again
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By

Akshat Mehrish

Published: 28 Aug 2018 4:46 PM GMT
Rajat Chauhan shot his last arrow, hoping to hit the 10 point mark. In less than a second, the arrow carrying India's hopes went from Chauhan's bow to the board. It had hit the target, lodging in just inside the 10 point circle. A few centimetres to its side and India would have won the Gold medal. Instead, it was the South Korean's who celebrated his feat while the Indian's stood glumly at the side. They rejoiced for a straightforward reason. They had just won the Gold medal after a very, very tightly contested match. The Indian team had had the Gold medal snatched from their hands. They were leading at the end of the match. However, a technical issue gave South Korea two more points, and subsequently, a lifeline. From there on, the game headed to a shoot-off, where the teams could only be separated in the end by a solitary 'Bullseye'. When Chauhan's arrow flew into the board, it had hit the 10-point mark but had just missed the little Golden circle in the middle. However, the Indian Men's Compound team had not lost the Gold medal. Instead, they had won a Silver one. There weren't many expectations with the Archery team going into the 2018 Asian Games. Nevertheless, they still returned with two Silver medals. Both of the medals coming through the Compound Archers. Before the Men took centre stage, it was the Women who shot for Gold. Muskan Kirar, Madhumita Kumari, and Jyothi Surekha Vennam were the trio, who carried India's hopes in this one. In yet another closely contested match, the Indian Women's team lost to Chinese Taipei 228-231, to win the Silver medal. And while we celebrate the Compound Archers' two medals, we must understand that India's overall performance in the sport at the pan-Asian games doesn't bode well for the short term. The reason is simple- Olympic Games 2020. As a lot of people know, there is no place for Compound Archery on the Olympic Roster. The most significant sporting event of the World recognises only one form of Archery, which is Recurve. India's Recurve Archery record is indeed very worrying. Except for Deepika Kumari, the Recurve Archers have returned empty-handed from almost all the recent International events. Kumari herself couldn't save the Recurve team during the 2018 Asian Games. The Indian Archer had been ill just before the tournament and was still not One Hundred Percent fit. Nevertheless, none of the other Archers could deliver as well, with most of them not even reaching the Quarterfinals. Indian Archery's only saving grace in the past few years has been its Compound Archery Team. For the past two years, every medal which the Indian Archery team has won has come through a Compound Archer. There is one exception to the list, with Deepika Kumari being the only Recurve Archer to win a medal. Moreover, Compound Archers such as Abhishek Verma, Jyothi Surekha Vennam, Rajat Chauhan, Trisha Deb, and others are continually finding themselves to be amongst the best. This particular form of Archery also has some up and coming youngsters, such as Muskan Kirar and Divya Dhayal. Kirar and Dhayal, along with Vennam, were part of the team which won the Silver medal at 2018 Antalya World Cup. It is clear that Indian Archery as a whole is imbalanced. While on the one hand, there is the impressive Compound team, on the other, there is the equally disappointing Recurve team. Sadly, Compound Archers will have to wait four years to participate in the next-multi sports event. One can hope that in those four years, the Indian Recurve team improves as well.
Also read: Recurve Archery in India plagued by inconsistency
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