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In yet another dismal performance the Indian recurve archers return home from the second stage of the Archery World Cup in Antalya, Turkey, without winning a single medal. The country's stint at the competition concluded with a silver and a bronze medal coming from the compound team event.
The strongest bid for a recurve medal came from the women’s team, comprising Deepika Kumari, Promila Daimary and Ankita Bhagat, who went down to Chinese Taipei’s Lei Chien-Ying, Peng Chia-Mao and Tan Ya Ting 2-6 in a bronze medal playoff match. The team had earlier conceded defeat to Korea 2-6 in the semifinals.
In individual categories of women’s recurve, Deepika and L Bombayla Devi crashed out in the quarterfinals. While the former, who defeated teammate Promila Daimary 7-3 in the fourth round, was thrashed by Japan’s Gyeong Lee Eun 1-7, the Manipur archer lost to Lei Chien-Ying of Chinese Taipei 4-6.
Atanu Das was the best Indian men’s recurve archer as he lost to Mete Gazoz of Turkey 4-6 in the third round.
The recurve mixed team of Deepika and Atanu were eliminated in the quarterfinals to against Japan’s Tomomi Sugimoto and Takaharu Furukawa via tie-breaker 4-5.
In the men’s recurve team event, the men’s trio of Das, Sukhchain Singh and Jagdish Choudhary was defeated in the first round by their Belarus opponents 4-5.
The women’s compound team of Divya Dhayal, Muskan Kirar and Jyothi Surekha fetched the silver for India. The compound mixed team of Abhishek Verma and Jyothi Surekha, won the bronze medal when they got the better of their Belgium rivals 158-155.
Repeatedly poor performance in Recurve Archery
While the Indian archers have showcased consistent performance in compound archery, the records in recurve archery paints a woeful picture, despite of the fact that recurve archery is the only form of the sport that is a part of the the Olympic games.
The distinction between recurve and compound archery rests in the equipment. In case of recurve archery, basic bow and arrow are used and this form relies more on human precision,, while compound is more mechanised and uses a combination of cams and wheels instead of the human finger as the trigger.
Image: The Infinite Curve (theinfinitecurve.com )
For India, no other archer other than Deepika Kumari has won individual medal at the Archery World Cup, which came for the last time during 2014. There has been a medal drought since 2017 which looms largely till the first six months of 2018 so far.
Atanu Das has been the most successful male recurve archer for India, who hasn't been able to grasp the coveted yellow metal in any of the World Cups.
In contrast, there has been a constant flow of medals for India in compound archery. Abhisek Verma has romped an individual Gold medal and silver medal in 2015 World Cup rounds, whereas, he also accounted for men's team World Cup Gold in 2017 a mixed team silver in 2014.
What seems to be the problem?There has been absolutely no direction that the sport can boast of having because the Federation governing the sport has been in a hot mess for quite some time now. Only recently, it was announced in a report in The Tribune that the Sports Authority of India has taken the cue to shift the National Camp from Jamshedpur's Tata Archery Academy to Delhi to reduce the risk of indiscipline with major competitions like the Asiads coming up. Furthermore, it has been learnt that no chief coach has been appointed by the Archery Association of India since Limba Ram was sacked in 2012 which is absurd for a sport of this scale. According to The Tribune, the general consensus remains that a lack of a chief coach is what leds to greater lax in sincerity by the training archers themselves.
Over the years, the modernisation of equipment has promoted a steady growth of compound archery in India, which is though not an Olympic sport but has yielded impressive results for the country in the World Cups and Asian Championships. Whereas, recurve archery remains to be a daunting sport owing to the effort required on it.
Image: Indian Express
However, if the Indian archers aim to make a mark in the most celebrated platform of the Olympic Games, they have to strive for regular improvement, particularly taking cue from its below-par performance during the 2016 Rio Games, which saw us failing to overcome the hurdle of pre-quarter finals.