2017 was an impressive year for Indian archers with seniors like Abhishek Verma and Deepika Kumari leading the contingent. Apart from some good shows in the World Cup in August and Asian archery championships in November, the youth players displayed few doting performances.
16-year-old Divya Dhayal made remarkable strides in archery this year as she clinched two gold and a silver medal in the Asia Archery Cup that took place in Chinese Taipei in July.
The two gold medal performances came in the women’s individual and mixed events, making the whole nation proud.
In the women’s individual event, Dhayal defeated beat Iran’s Fereshteh Ghorbani in the final in a neck-to-neck competition. Despite trailing by one point after the first set, Dhayal frog-leaped Ghorbani with 29 points in the second set. At the end of the fourth set, both the contenders were stuck in a deadlock at 113-113. However, Dhayal amassed 30 points in her last three arrows to win the match 143-142.
In the mixed event final, Dhayal partnered with Mayank Rawat and closed the match with a scoreline of 151-147.
The teenager, however, missed the opportunity to score a hat-trick as the team, also comprising Megha Agarwal, Purvasha lost to the Chinese Taipei team in a close battle of 228-225.
Dhayal, hailing from Pune, had earlier won the bronze medal at the Archery World Cup partnering with Abhishek Verma. It was India’s only medal at the event, and also Dhayal’s first at this level.
The student of Army Public School is also a National Archery Champion, who secured gold medals in two separate categories as a mere 15-year-old.
In October, Dhayal was in the three-member Indian team that won the bronze medal in the Youth World Championship in Rosario, Argentina. The team that also comprised Divya’s sister Khushbu Dhayal and Delhi girl Sanchita Tiwari, had an upper hand over Russia in the quarterfinals but lost the semifinals to the US. However, they defeated the UK in the bronze medal match.
Dhayal’s performance throughout 2017 has given India high expectations and hopefully, she will be able to put up even better performances at other world events in the future.