The Indian men’s compound team of Abhishek Verma, Ratan Singh Khuraijam and Sandeep Kumar won a closely contested final against the Korean team to emerge victorious 233-231 and claim gold in the men’s team event of the compound category at the 2013 Asian Archery Championships in Taipei.
The Indian team had qualified 1st with 2086 points after their impressive showing in qualification on Wednesday and remained consistently strong in the knockout rounds yesterday.
In the quarters, they beat Iraq 231-221 before eliminating the hosts, Chinese Taipei, in the semis 232-220.
Sandeep and Ratan Singh were also part of the team that had won the bronze at the Archery World Cup Stage 3 in July in Colombia.
On the women’s side too, India had hopes of a medal, but the team of Lily Chanu Ponam, Jyothi Surekha Vennam and Trisha Deb went down to the Koreans, losing 217-222.
Lily Chanu, in fact, had a field day, as she shot 351 points, setting a new unofficial Asian Championship record from 50 metres distance. The score is just 3 points shy of the world record of 354.
In the recurve section team events, disappointment continued as both the men’s and women’s teams were knocked out in the quarterfinals.
2013 has been a poor year so far for the recurve archers who have not performed at their maximum levels in major tournaments. Though the women did win the team gold at one of the events, their form has been patchy.
In total contrast, has been the form of the compound team, as they have gotten better with every tournament. Even at the recent World Championships in Antalya, Turkey, it was the compound archers that went the farthest in both the individual as well as team events.
Vijay Kumar Malhotra, president of the Archery Association of India (AAI), said as much while congratulating the team: “This year is entirely dedicated to compound archers in view of their brilliant performance in all international competitions attended during 2013 which is a good sign for the preparation of ensuing 2014 Asian Games, Incheon where Compound event has been included for the first time.”
“It is for the second time when our team has won the Asian Champions Title in compound men category. Compound men and women teams won gold and silver medals respectively and I R Sanam occupied the top slot on the podium in the 16th Asian Championship, Bali in 2009 which was the best ever results achieved by compound archers,” he added.
The individual events at the Asian Archery Championships begin on Friday with the medal rounds set for Saturday, which will be the final day.