A silver of hope

Indian men’s recurve team bags silver at World Championships

Den Bosch (Netherlands), June 16

The Indian men’s recurve team cracked under pressure against China to settle for the silver medal in the Archery World Championships here today. Seeking a maiden gold in the World Championships, India led 27-26 midway into the first set but the trio of Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das and Pravin Jadhav let the opportunity slip in the summit clash.

The Chinese team of Ding Yiliang, Wei Shaoxuan and Feng Hao produced a solid and consistent performance to seal a 6-2 win.

India ended their campaign with one silver and two bronze medals, taking their overall count to eight medals.

The men’s recurve team was featuring in the final of the World Championships after a gap of 14 years. This was India’s sixth silver medal at the World Championships but the country is yet to win a gold medal.

“Feeling good and also bad. It was a big chance for us,” said Rai, who was also a member the recurve team that won the silver in Madrid in 2005. “We have won so many silver medals (at World Championships) but we have never won gold.”

Rai, along with Jayanta Talukdar and Gautam Singh, had lost to Korea 232-244 in the final in 2005.

“But we have learnt so many things, hope it will help us rectify our mistakes and change the colour of the medal in future,” Rai said.

The men’s recurve team, which had slumped to No. 17 in rankings from being No. 1 in May 2011, had also surprised everyone by sealing the Olympics quota place ahead of the fancied women’s team. This was also for the first time since 2014 that the Indian men’s team made the final of a world event. India had ended up with a silver at the Wroclaw Stage IV World Cup, with Rai being a member of the team, alongside Das and Talukdar.

Describing this as a breakthrough moment for the Indian men’s recurve team, the 35-year-old Rai said: “We have struggled a lot for the last four-five years. Questions were being asked if we could win medals. This time we could prove them wrong. Hopefully, in the future our archers will come to win medals and not just to participate.” 

Up against fifth seeds China, who had upset top seeds South Korea in the semifinals, the Indian trio lost the first set by a point as the scores were levelled at 53-all.

The young Chinese team spearheaded by 23-year-old Yiliang was at its best in the second set, shooting four perfect 10s to score 58 out of 60. India wobbled with a score of 51, with Rai slipping to the outer 7-circle to trail 1-3 at the midway stage.  Needing a 10 to seal the issue in the third set, Ding narrowly missed the inner ring for a 56-56 draw that kept India’s hopes alive. India needed a win in the fourth to take the match into the shoot-off but nerves overpowered them. —PTI

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