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Indian women’s compound team wins historic gold in World Archery Championships

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BERLIN: The Indian women’s compound team of Jyothi Surekha Vennam, Aditi Swami and Parneet Kaur on Friday created history by winning the country’s first ever gold medal in the World Archery Championships as the trio beat Mexico in the final here.

The Indians won 235-229 against their top-seeded opponents in a one-sided final. The trio also opened India’s medal account in the championships.

Earlier, India had stunned defending champions Colombia 220-216 in the semifinals after a 228-226 win over Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals.

This is the first time Indian archers became world champions after the country made its World Archery Championships debut in Punta Ala (Italy) in 1981.

India had previously lost in the finals in the World Archery Championships four times in recurve section and five times in the non-Olympic compound discipline.

“We were focused on the process. We had won enough silver medals and we had decided yesterday that we will win the gold. This is a start and we will win more medals,” Jyothi said.

The 17-year-old Aditi, who recently became U-18 world champion, is the juniormost member of the team.

“It is a special moment to win the first medal and see the Indian flag go up,” she said.

At a time when Indian recurve archers are in a downward spiral, the current achievement, albeit in a non-Olympic compound section, will be a big relief.

In fact, all the Indian recurve archers are out of medal contention in this tournament.

Dhiraj Bommadevara and Simranjeet Kaur’s prequarterfinal exits on Thursday were the recurve archers’ best finishes in the section.

India had last time won a medal in recurve discipline of the World Archery Championships in the 2019 edition in Den Bosch Netherlands when the men’s team of Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das and Pravin Jadhav had settled for a silver.

Up against Mexico, second-seeded Indian trio of Jyothi, Aditi and Parneet dominated from the start as they shot 59 points out of 60 in the first three rounds to cruise to a 177-172 lead.

In the first round, the Indians drilled in two X (closer to the centre) in five perfect 10s to put early pressure on Mexico’s Dafne Quintero, Ana Sofia Hernandez Jeon and Andrea Becerra who totalled 57.

The second round was an identical one as Mexico shot 58 points this time to trail by three points.

In the third round, Jyothi, Aditi and Parneet had one X from five 10s en route to 59, while Mexico managed 57 to give India a five-point cushion going into the decider.

They sealed India’s first gold in archery in this tournament with a 58.

It was a big relief especially for 27-year-old Jyothi who finally won a gold medal after missing out on four occasions.

In the last edition in Yankton 2021, she lost out in individual, team and mixed pair finals.

Her maiden final appearance was with the team in the 2017 Mexico City edition when she was with Trisha Deb and Lily Chanu Paonam.

Overall, Jyothi now has one gold, four silver and two bronze medals from the World Championships.

Jyothi, Aditi and Parneet are also in the hunt for individual medals having progressed into the quarterfinals.

While Parneet will be up against Jyothi in an all-Indian last-eight clash, Aditi will take on Sanne De Laat of the Netherlands.

“It was a historic moment … we became world champions defeating Colombia in semifinal and Mexico in final (two great compound archery heavyweights),” said national high performance director Sanjeeva Singh.

“It will see a boom in coming years as there is an outside chance of compound getting introduced in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics as an indoor sport (18M and 25M),” he added. (PTI)

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