SAMSUN/TURKEY: India's Deepika Kumari who returned from the recent Asian Games held her nerve in an intriguing playoff to down Lisa Unruh and wins the bronze medal in the Archery World Cup Finals here on Sunday.
Deepika fought a tense duel against Germany's Lisa Unruh, the Rio Olympics silver medalist, to win 6-5. The match was locked at 5-5 after five sets. Deepika and Unruh both shot 9, but the former won bronze because her arrow was closer to the centre. This was Deepika's fifth World Cup Finals medal after her silver medals in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2017. Deepika had qualified for the final by winning gold at the World Cup in Salt Lake, USA, earlier this year.
Deepika will smack this hard-fought win, as she came into this tournament without her coach Dharmendra Tiwari, who could not accompany her due to illness.
"This was for the first time I shot at a big competition like this without a coach. But I'm very happy. The stronger the competition, the better we get," said Deepika.
"Most of the times, I end up losing a shoot-off so I started panicking. I told myself, I will accept whatever be the result. I will just give my best shot. I'm satisfied with the arrow”, she said.
“I’m happy for the bronze. I wish I could convert this silver/bronze medals into gold sometime,” she added.
Despite her successes at World Cups and season finales, Deepika has not managed to maintain that form in some of the showpiece events, be it the Olympics or the Asian Games.
"Before the Asian Games, I had dengue fever and then I lost my strength. I could not even draw my bow. After the Asian Games, I took a break of 15 days before coming here," said Deepika.
This was India's second bronze medal in the competition. In the Men's Compound individual event, where India's number one compound archer, Abhishek Verma finished third. Abhishek started off his campaign, with a close victory against Braden Gellenthien of USA in the quarterfinals. However, in the semi-finals, he went down fighting, against Turkey's Elmaagachi. In the bronze medal match against Kim Jongho of South Korea, Abhishek was at his very best, as he went on to win by 149-147 points and ensured himself a place in the podium.
India's solitary silver medal came in the Compound's Mixed Team event, where they lost to hosts Turkey by 159-152 points in the finals. Abhishek Verma and Jyothi Surekha represented the Indian team in this mixed team event.
Image Credit: On Manorama