The Indian women's recurve team of Deepika Kumari, Chekrovolu Swuro and Laishram Bombayla Devi lost 207-210 to hosts Italy in the World Archery Championships final in Turin on Sunday to settle for the silver.
This was the best finish by the women in the history of the Championships. Their previous best was a fourth place at Madrid in 2005, where they had lost to Russia in the bronze medal play-off. The silver is the only medal in India's kitty with the men failing to get past the first elimination round and none of the six archers making it to the quarterfinals in the individual events.
The Indian trio led by a point at the halfway stage but a poor draw of 50 out of the possible 60 points spelt doom. The Italian trio of Natalia Valeeva, Guendalina Sartori and Jessica Tomasi held their act together and shot 55 in that end to overcome the one-point deficit and grab a four-point lead.
The Indians, who missed the experience of Dola Banerjee, cut down the lead to two points in the final pair of arrows where Bombayla finished with a 9. But former world champion Valeeva shot a perfect 10 to give Italy victory.
This was Italy's second recurve title, having won in 1999 at Riom, France. They had won silver at Beijing in 2001.
Italy had met India seven times before with a slender advantage of 4-3 in the head-to-head count. The last two encounters were in favour of the Italians, with wins at the 2010 Porec and 2009 Shanghai World Cups. The only positive the Indians carried into the final was their dramatic semifinal victory that dethroned world champions and favourites, Korea. But poor show in the individual events neutralised the confidence.