A day’s haul of two gold and two bronze medals would be considered great for India in any sport. But the standards India’s recurve archers have set for themselves, nothing shy of two gold and two silver medals on Sunday, considering a Commonwealth Games field, is being seen as par for the course.
Overall, a haul of three gold, a silver and four bronze medals from archery will not be considered too bad as this was a discipline, which like tennis and wrestling, is an optional sport in the Commonwealth Games.
The Yamuna Sports Complex on Sunday did have its share of disappointments and surprises. Favourite Jayanta Talukdar’s failure to enter the final, just like Dola Banerjee in the morning, was the biggest let-down for the decent and vociferous turnout. Gusty winds played spoilsport here.
Deepika Kumari’s thumping victory over 2004 Athens Olympics bronze medallist Alison Williamson of England to clinch gold and Rahul Banerjee’s holding his nerves in three consecutive tie-breakers for his first gold at the international level were surely the high points of Indian archery. Incidentally, all the four Indian medal winners on the final day are products of the Tata Archery Academy.
This was Deepika’s first year in the senior level. She’s already won a silver in the World Cup, a berth in the World Cup grand finals in Edinburgh — only the second Indian woman after Dola to do so —and now she has a CWG golden double.
Rahul was yet to smell individual success even after three years in the international circuit. The gold here would definitely help him come out of sister Dola’s shadow and establish himself as one of the best archers in India.
“I am on cloud nine,” Rahul said after the medal ceremony. So confident was the recurve men’s team of winning gold here that after settling for bronze, the trio was seen moving around like a group of zombies in the practice ground in the last couple of days.
“A gold and silver would have been the ideal yield. But even this would help lift the spirits. All of us were really down after we lost in the team championships,” a much relieved Rahul told HT.
India’s next assignment is the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, and with all the distances involved there, India will need to pull up their socks.