Deepika Kumari Won Silver at Recurve World Cup
India’s Deepika Kumari squandered a two – set lead against London Olympics double gold medallist Ki Bo Bae of South Korea, and had to settle for the silver medal in the women’s individual recurve competition at the Archery World Cup Final in Tokyo on Sunday.
Deepika won the first two sets, but allowed the Korean to make a remarkable comeback and seal top honours in the season finale in the Japanese capital.
The Jharkhand teenager was a whisker away from winning the deciding fifth set but shot a seven in her final attempt, opening the door for her opponent who prevailed 6-4.
Dola Banerjee is the only Indian archer to win a gold medal at the World Cup Final, when she triumphed in Dubai in 2007.
The showdown with the top two archers in the world rankings took place in rain, but Ki dealt with the elements better when it really counted.
Deepika had won the silver medal at the World Cup Final last year as well, going down to China’s Cheng Ming in the final in Istanbul. She was hoping to go one better this time round, but it was not to be.
Only the top eight archers in each category make it to the World Cup Final, on the basis of their performance in the Archery World Cups through the year. Deepika was the only Indian competing at the elite seasonending event.
Deepika had gone into the London Olympics as the World No.1, but had a disappointing outing and was displaced by Ki as World No.1.
The Indian capitalised on a sloppy start by Ki and took the first two sets 26-23 and 27-25. But as the Korean improved, Deepika went the other way.
She had managed two perfect 10s in the first two sets, but failed to repeat the feat thereafter, with the conditions making it tough for the archers.
Ki won the third set with scores of 9-9-10, while Deepika could only shoot 9-8-7. In fact, her final shots in the last three rounds all accounted for seven each.
The Korean levelled the gold medal match, winning the fourth set 8-10-8 to 8-8-7.
Deepika opened the decider and shot a nine, with Ki replying with an eight. Deepika, thus, had her nose in front.
Both archers shot nines in their next attempts, meaning that the Indian still had a one-shot lead going into the last two arrows.
Deepika could have sealed the deal with a 10, but handed the initiative to the Korean with a seven. It meant that Ki had to hit a nine to clinch the gold medal, and she did just that.
The victory capped a great season for the Korean, who had won gold medals in the individual and team events at the London Olympics. Korean Choi Hyeonju took home the bronze medal with a 6-4 victory over Jennifer Nichols of the United States.
Earlier in the day, Deepika won two matches to make it to the title clash.
Japan’s Miki Kanie was hardly a match for the Indian, who prevailed 7-1. The semi – final against Nichols was tied 2-2 before Deepika took the next two sets to clinch a berth in the final.
Ki had to go through a shoot-off with compatriot Choi to get into the gold medal match.
Korea took the men’s recurve gold medal as well when Kim Woojin edged past two – time defending World Cup Final winner Brady Ellison in a shoot – off.
France’s Gael Provost defeated Korean Im Dong Hyun 6-2 for the bronze medal.
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