The new-look Indian archery teams without some big names produced disappointing performances to get eliminated in the quarterfinals in the season-opening World Cup Stage 1 on Thursday.
The men’s recurve trio of Tarundeep Rai, Sachin Gupta and Jayanta Talukdar got the top billings in the qualifying but the team failed to live up to expectations, going down to their rivals from the war-ravaged Ukraine 1-5 (58-58, 53 -56, 55-58) in a lop-sided contest.
The Indians started off with a solid shot of 58/60, but they slipped to 53/60 in the second set, hitting thrice in the red ring (8-8-8) to fall 1-3 behind.Their 55/60 in the third set was not enough as the Ukrainian trio of Artem Ovchynnikov, Usach Mykhailo and Oleksii Hunbin sealed the issue with a 58/60.
There was worse in store from the fourth-seeded women’s trio of Ridhi Phor, Ankita Bhakat and Simranjeet Kaur who capped poor scores of 52/60 twice to lose to lower-rung Italy 2-6 (52-57, 55-46, 52 -53, 54-55) and get eliminated. The only set the Indians won was when their Italian rivals shot a below-par 46.
It remains to be seen how the Indian recurve archers fare in the mixed pair and individual events that will get underway on Friday.
In the compound section, Priya Gurjar and Rajat Chauhan were the best finishers with quarter-final exits. Priya lost to Chen Yi-Hsuan of Chinese Taipei 136-143, while Chauhan was ousted by Jean Philippe Boulch of Luxembourg 146-149. Former Asian Games gold medallist Abhishek Verma lost in the second round in a tight shoot-off finish (9-10) against Frenchman Quentin Baraer after being locked 146-all.
So far, India have assured one medal in the compound men’s team event by advancing to the final where they will take on France on Saturday. India had some big upsets in the selection trials last month as three of the four Tokyo Olympics-returned archers – including the star couple of Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari – failed to make the cut.
The only Tokyo Olympian to make the cut was veteran Army man Tarundeep Rai who was joined by another old warhorse in Jayanta Talukdar, who made an International comeback after six years. The recurve women’s team, on the other hand, are mostly youngsters. The compound team is also without four-time World Championships silver medalist Jyothi Surekha Vennam.