CHENNAI: It was an impressive run but it did not have the best of ends. The Indian men’s recurve team may have exceeded expectations to reach the final of the Archery World Championships in Hertogenbosch, but they cracked under pressure against China in the summit clash to settle for a silver.
The Indians had never won gold at the Worlds and this was a chance to rewrite history. The trio of Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das and Pravin Jadhav did get off to a good start, leading their opponents 27-26 midway through the first set. But they let the momentum slip against the Chinese and tied the set 53-53.
The second set saw the Chinese team of Ding Yiliang, Wei Shaoxuan and Feng Hao dominate, closing it out at 58-51. India did bounce back in the third to tie it 56-56 and split points. But they lost out 57-52 in the final set to succumb to a 2-6 defeat. This is China’s maiden gold in the event.
“Feeling good and also bad. It was a big chance for us. We have won so many silver medals (at World Championships) but we have never won a gold. This time too, we could not convert this into a gold,” rued Rai, who was also a member of the men’s recurve team that last won silver at Madrid. Rai, along with Jayanta Talukdar and Gautam Singh, had lost to Korea 232-244 in the final of World Championship in Madrid, 2005.
“But we have learnt so many things, hope it will help us to rectify our mistakes and change the colour of the medal in future,” Rai, a two-time Olympian and 2010 Asian Games individual silver medallist, said.
The men’s recurve team, who had slumped to number 17 in rankings from being number one in May 2011, had also surprised everyone by sealing the Olympic quota place ahead of the fancied women’s team. This was also for the first time since 2014 that the Indian men’s team made the final of a world event. India had ended up with a silver at the Wroclaw Stage IV World Cup in 2014 with Rai being a member of the team, alongside Das and Jayanta Talukdar.