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India’s large contingent of 27 archers missed out on a medal at the second stage of the 2016/17 Indoor Archery World Cup but there were a few standout performances at this prestigious event held in Bangkok, Thailand over the weekend. Atanu Das, who was an impressive ninth on Olympic debut at Rio, carried on his good form to finish forth in men’s recurve and was the best-performing Indian overall.
The Kolkata-born archer had qualified third for the knock-out stages with a superb 593 out of a possible 600 and maintained it to reach the semi-finals.
Atanu first beat Meerasee Mai of Thailand 7-3, then prevailed over Kwon Seungeon by the same scoreline. In the quarter-finals, he upset the sixth seed Jung Sung Won 6-2.
In the semi-finals, his brilliant run was cut short by the 10th seed and eventual gold medallist Kim Jae Hyeong, who won 6-2. In the bronze medal play-off, Atanu was edged 4-6 (29-27, 29-30, 29-30, 30-29, 28-30) by the No. 5 seed Lee Jong Young as the Indian’s quest for a medal ended in despair.
Atanu was asked how he wants to build on his sizzling Rio run to which the Indian replied that he is working hard to improve his mental game.
“I’m trying to more and more upgrade myself in my mind. I compete with myself only – but next to great archers and, we are all friends, learn from them and upgrade myself,” Das said, as reported by worldarchery.org.
Among the others, India’s Atul Verma, who finished fifth, had a massive win. The 18th seeded Indian, who beat the 15th seed Luis Alvarez 7-1 in Round 1, followed it up by toppling the second seed and reigning Olympic champion Ku Bonchan 6-4 in the second round.
The Olympic Gold Quest-backed archer ultimately lost to the winning champion Hyeong in the quarter-finals 3-7.
Veteran archer Jayanta Talukdar too made it to the last-eight. The eighth seed defeated Chu Chung Kong 6-4 in his opener following which he got the better of Im Ji Wan 6-4.
He suffered a narrow loss at the hands of the top seed Gye Dong Hyun of Korea, losing 5-6 (9-10) in a shoot-off.
Rahul Banerjee, Mangal Singh Champia and Binod Swansi all crashed out in the opening round.
In contrast to men’s recurve, India’s show in women’s recurve was disappointing. Indian archery’s blue-eyed girl Deepika Kumari was far from her best at this indoor tournament and lost 2-6 to her compatriot Laxmi Rani Majhi in the first round.
Majhi herself could not go deep and bowed out in the very next round after being blanked 0-6 by the top seeded Korean Sim Yeji, 0-6.
The experienced Laishram Bombayla Devi too had the same fate as Deepika and was thrashed 1-7 by the 13th seed Kim Eun Jung of Korea. Rimil Buriuly was shown the door by the American archer Khatuna Lorig 2-6.
In an all-Indian first round clash, Ankita Bhakat prevailed 6-2 over Prachi Singh before going down 0-6 to Jeon Hunyoung in the pre-quarter-finals.
India endured a miserable campaign in the compound section. None of the three archers in men’s compound section managed to cross the first hurdle in the knock-out rounds.
Abhishek Verma, seeded 22nd, went down to the 2014 Asian Games gold medallist Ebadi Esmaeil, 144-147.
Sudhakar Kumar Paswan lost 142-146 to the fifth seed Fabien Delobelle of France while Poudel Chhetri Khyam Bahadur succumbed 144-147 to the top seed Dutchman Mike Schloesser.