Archery World Cup | Abhishek Verma, Deepika Kumari one step away from gold

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Archery World Cup | Abhishek Verma, Deepika Kumari one step away from gold

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SportsCafe Desk

06/22/2018

Indian archers Deepika Kumari and Abhishek Verma produced memorable performances in the semi-finals of Archery World Cup and qualified for the recurve women’s and compound men’s finals respectively. Both will also contest for bronze medal match with their respective partners in mixed team events.

The 2018 Archery World Cup is being held in Salt Lake City, USA and it has so far proved to be a mixed bag year for India. While India managed to win bronze medals in team events this year, it is a success in individual events.  

Four-time World Cup silver medallist Deepika Kumari and one-time World Cup silver medallist Abhishek Verma have their chance at redemption as they will shoot for the recurve women’s and compound men’s individual gold medals. This will be Kumari’s first gold medal match appearance since Shanghai, 2013 while Verma will be participating in his second World Cup gold medal match after previously reaching a final in 2015. Kumari, who won the match 6-4, said that she needed the win to motivate herself.

“I really needed this kind of boost in my life. It’s been a really long time since the last time I made an individual gold medal match at a World Cup stage,” said Kumari to World Archery.

After scoring 629/720 points in the ranking round, Kumari was placed fourth and therefore earned a bye to the third round of knockout stages. In the knockout rounds, she beat Erin Mickelberry (6-2), Ren Hayakawa (6-2), and Ana Maria Rendon (6-0) before her semi-final meeting with Bayardo.

In the semifinal against Bayardo, Kumari fought back from four points down to win 27-28, 28-22, 23-26, 28-24, 27-23.

“I was telling myself that I was capable of winning the match. I was focusing on my heartbeat, trying to stay as calm as possible and on staying positive the whole time. This gives me more confidence for upcoming competitions,” added Kumari.

In the men’s compound event, World No.9 Abhishek Verma will face World No.1 Stephan Hansen from Denmark on Saturday in the final. Verma beat Akbarali Karabayev (147-148), Austin Taylor (144-147), and PJ Deloche (149-149, more Xs) before meeting Russia’s Anton Bulaev in the semis. With a spot in the final at stake, Verma hit perfect 30 in all five rounds to finish with 150 and defeated Bulaev, who managed 146.

“I tried to shoot perfect today and it worked,” Verma told World Archery. “I think the wind was better today than in qualification, but thanks to those conditions early this week I knew how to read the wind. If I can shoot as I did today, no-one can stop me, not even Stephan,” said Verma. 

However, both of them will also have a chance to win the bronze medal with their respective partners. While the combination of Kumari and Atanu Das went down 4-5 against USA in the recurve mixed team semi-final, in compound mixed team Abhishek Verma and Jyothi Surekha Vennam lost to Russia 149-152 in the semi-finals. 

Kumari and Das will face Chinese Taipei in the bronze medal play-off while Verma and Vennam will face USA in the bronze medal match.

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