The new Indian archery teams were defeated in the quarterfinals of the World Cup Stage 1 on Thursday, despite the absence of several prominent names. The team of Tarundeep Rai, Sachin Gupta, and Jayanta Talukdar received the top billing in qualifying, but lost 1-5 to war-torn Ukraine.
The Indians began with a strong shot of 58/60, but dropped to 53/60 in the second set, hitting three times in the red ring (8-8-8) to fall 1-3 behind. Their 55/60 in the final set was insufficient, as the Ukrainian three of Artem Ovchynnikov, Usach Mykhailo, and Oleksii Hunbin won with a 58/60.
Worse was to come for the fourth-seeded women's trio of Ridhi Phor, Ankita Bhakat, and Simranjeet Kaur, who capped abysmal 52/60 scores thrice to lose 2-6 (52-57, 55-46, 52-53, 54-55) and be eliminated. The lone set the Indians won was when their Italian opponents shot a 46.
It would be interesting to observe how the Indian recurve archers fare in the mixed pair and solo events, which begin on Friday.
Priya Gurjar and Rajat Chauhan were the top finishers in the compound division, both finishing in the quarterfinals. Priya was defeated 136-143 by Chen Yi-Hsuan of Chinese Taipei, while Chauhan was defeated 146-149 by Jean Philippe Boulch of Luxembourg. Former Asian Games gold medalist Abhishek Verma was eliminated in the second round after a 146-all tie in a shoot-off (9-10) against Frenchman Quentin Baraer.
India has already guaranteed one medal in the compound men's team event by qualifying for the final, where they will face France on Saturday. Three out of the four Tokyo Olympians, including the celebrity pair of Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari, failed to make the cut at India's selection trials last month.
Tarundeep Rai, a veteran Army man, was the sole Tokyo Olympian to make the cut, and he was joined by another old warhorse, Jayanta Talukdar, who made his international debut after a six-year absence. The recurve women's squad, on the other hand, is largely made up of teenagers. Jyothi Surekha Vennam, a four-time World Championships silver medalist, is also missing from the compound team.