India's recurve archers had a great start to their Archery World Cup Stage 1 qualification as they stormed into the quarterfinals in three events in Guatemala City on Tuesday. Apart from the men’s and women’s events, the mixed team comprising Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari also made it to the last-eight at the Archery World Cup.
While Atanu Das ranked second among the men, Ankita Bhakat and Deepika Kumari secured second and third positions respectively in the women's category. The Indian women's team grabbed first place, with their male counterparts finishing third on what was a brilliant opening day for India at the Archery World Cup.
The mixed team, who finished second, will take on France in the quarterfinals while the women’s team who finished on top in qualification, will face hosts Guatemala. Their male counterparts will take on either Spain or Guatemala in the last-eight.
This is also the first time Indian archers have competed at an international event in more than a year. Their last international appearance was at the 2019 Asian Championship in Bangkok. The last time India participated in the Archery World Cup was during Stage 4 in Berlin, also in 2019.
Atanu Das squanders a superb start to rank second
Atanu was in top form at the start, hitting 341 points at the halfway stage – four shy of World No. 1 Brady Ellison in the men’s event. However, the Kolkata-born archer failed to recreate his magic, falling behind by a huge margin in the end.
While Ellison finished with 694 points, Atanu managed to get 680 points. The third place was taken by Germany’s Florian Unruh, who finished with 679 points. Other Indian men's recurve specialists at the Archery World Cup disappointed, with Pravin Jadhav (15th), B Dhiraj (20th) and senior-most Tarundeep Rai (22nd) faring poorly.
“Maybe because everyone is hungry, that’s why it’s a good day for us. It’s been a while since I didn’t play international tournaments because of COVID-19. So it’s a very good tournament, very good weather and I really enjoyed it,” Atanu told World Archery.
Among the women, Deepika was leading at the halfway stage, with 339 points – four ahead of Mexican Ana Vazquez and India's Ankita Bhakat. However, the former top-ranked Indian failed to continue the momentum and finished in third place with 671 points.
With two points better than Deepika, Bhakat finished second while Vazquez emerged as the winner of the pack with 680 points - an Archery World Cup record. Meanwhile, Komalika Bari, the reigning U-18 world champion, had to be satisfied with a 12th-place finish with 659 points, helping the Indian women grab pole position in the team event.