The Indian junior archers capped a stunning show by winning eight gold, four silver and two bronze medals to top the medals tally at the Asia Cup Stage 2 on Wednesday.
On the concluding day, India bagged five gold, four silver and one bronze that included a rare clean sweep in the compound men’s individual section, adding to their Tuesday tally of three gold and one bronze. Recurve archer Mrinal Chauhan spearheaded the Indian challenge on the final day to finish with double gold medals, while Prathamesh Fuge reigned supreme in the compound section by signing off with a hat-trick of gold medals.
India thus upstaged Bangladesh who failed to replicate their Stage 1 show in Bangkok where they had topped the medal standings in March. India had sent a junior team for the continental event which had a depleted field without Asian heavyweights Korea, China and Chinese Taipei.
India’s golden day began with the recurve women’s team of Bhajan Kaur, Avani and Laxmi Hembrom edging out Bangladeshi trio of Akter Nasrin, Diya Siddique and Beauty Ray in a thrilling final to bag the day’s first gold on offer. Down 0-2, India bounced back to level 4-4 and the shoot-off too was a locked affair as both teams shot identical scores of (10-10-9) and India were declared winners after it landed one of the 10s closer to the center.
The men’s recurve team, on the other hand, had it easy against their Bangladeshi rivals winning it 5-1. Having started off with identical 55s, the trio of Parth Salunkhe, Mrinal Chauhan and Juyel Sarkar stepped up, winning the next two sets (57-55, 56-54) to grab the second gold on offer on the day.
India however failed to replicate the success in the recurve mixed team final as the duo of Salunkhe and Bhajan squandered a 2-0 lead to go down to Uzbekistan’s Abdusattorova Ziyodakhon and Amirkhan Sadikov 4-5 (18-19) to settle for a silver. Having started off winning the first set 35-34, India lost the second set 35-37. They regained the lead and made it 4-2 with a 38-36 win in the third set, but they failed to close out in the fourth set. They landed in the red circle twice (8-8) en route to losing 34-36, which proved to be decisive in the end. They managed two 9s in the shoot-off, which was not enough as their Uzbek counterparts sealed the gold, shooting 9-10.
In the afternoon session, Salunkhe defeated Sadikov 6-4 to bag the recurve men’s individual bronze as he signed off with three medals – one team gold, mixed team silver and an individual bronze. Bhajan Kaur lost the recurve women’s individual final with a 2-6 defeat to Mahta Abdollahi to settle for silver. Chauhan won the recurve men’s individual title, with a lopsided 6-2 win over top-ranked recurve archer in the fray, Ruman Shana (world rank 42).
The compound individual section saw an all-Indian finals. Sakshi Chaudhary won the women’s title beating Parneet Kaur 140-138. In the last event of the meet, Fuge upset Rishabh Yadav (no 66), the top-ranked compound archer in fray, with a narrow two-point margin (146-144) to secure a hat-trick. Fuge had on Tuesday won the compound team gold and compound mixed team gold.