The Indian challenge in the women’s recurve team event at the Rio Olympics 2016 came to a heartbreaking end as the trio of Deepika Kumari, Bombayla Devi and Laxmirani Majhi lost a pulsating quarter-final to the second seeds Russia on Sunday. After both teams were tied at 4-4, a shoot-out ensued and it was where the Russian team of Tuiana Dashidorzhieva, Ksenia Perova and Inna Stepanova dashed Indian hopes with a 5-4 (25-23) win.
Meanwhile, there was no letdown from the formidable Korean troika of Ki Bo Bae, Choi Misun and Chang Hye Jin who went on to collect the country’s eighth consecutive gold medal at the mega quadrennial Games.
India beat Colombia in the pre-quarter-finals
Having earned the seventh seeding, the Indian team first needed to beat the 10th seed Colombia to advance to the quarter-finals. And they did exactly that as they prevailed over the team of Carolina Aguirre, Ana Maria Rendon and Natalia Sanchez 5-3 in the pre-quarter-finals.
However, it was not easy by any means. Blustery conditions made it difficult for archers to adjust and that was so evident in both team’s performances which fluctuated. India’s Deepika Kumari needed a bit of time to rise to the occasion after initially posting poor scores of 7.
That enabled the Colombian trio to level the match at one set apiece (51-52, 50-49). Deepika, though, was able to improve tremendously well in the third set and put in a 10 for a 52-52 draw.
The fourth set turned out to be a tight affair initially but the Indian girls were helped further as the Colombians faltered in the latter stages of the set. Natalia Sanchez completely lost her focus in the wind and hit a 3 that facilitated India’s 5-3 overall win.
Closely-fought quarter-final loss to Russia
The Indian team next took on Russia – the same team they had lost to in the World Championships final last year and their fortunes were no different this time. It wasn’t a very auspicious start for the Indian archers as they conceded the first set 48-55 after a strong show from the second seeds.
But Deepika Kumari & Co. gradually grew in confidence and were able to level the tie 2-2 after narrowly winning the second set 53-52. The two teams exchanged the next two sets before proceeding to the shoot-out.
India did have a slight window of opportunity when the second Russian archer floundered for a paltry 6 on the scoreboard. However, the Indian girls failed to capitalize on it as Laxmirani Majhi and Deepika Kumari both could only produce 8 for a disappointing 4-5 (23-25) loss.
Russia, later on, beat Italy 5-3 to advance to the final against South Korea.
South Korea continues its domination
The South Korean women continued their hegemony of the Olympic archery event. Ever since the sport was introduced at the Seoul Games in 1988, they have never lost a single team match at this prestigious event.
For the defending individual gold medallist Bo Bae, this was the third Olympic gold of her illustrious career.
The bronze, meanwhile, went to Chinese Taipei, who beat Italy 5-1.