Indian men’s archery team in Olympics frame despite loss - Hindustan Times
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Indian men’s archery team in Olympics frame despite loss

Jun 15, 2024 10:46 PM IST

Lose the quarter-final in Final Olympic qualifier from a commanding position, but well placed to qualify on ranking

The Indian men’s recurve archery team crashed out in the quarter-finals of the Final Olympic Qualifier that offered three quota spots for the Paris Games, yet entry to Paris is all but assured for the world No.2 team through the rankings route.

The Indian Men's Recurve team of Tarundeep Rai, Dhiraj Bommadevara and Pravin Jadhav(Sai media x)
The Indian Men's Recurve team of Tarundeep Rai, Dhiraj Bommadevara and Pravin Jadhav(Sai media x)

The in-form trio of Dhiraj Bommadevara, Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadhav, which had beaten the mighty Koreans for the Shanghai World Cup gold in April, had a good chance to earn the team quota through this tournament in Antalya, Turkey. And signs were positive as they topped the qualification round on Saturday morning.

However, just like the women’s team a day earlier, the men crumbled under pressure in the elimination rounds with victory in sight in a 5-4 shoot-off defeat to Mexico in the quarters. While the women blew a 3-1 lead against lower-ranked Ukraine, the men folded after being 4-0 up against the eventual winners.

In terms of the Paris team spot at stake, there was far less riding on this event for the men compared to the women. The Indian men’s team, which pocketed 80 crucial points for the World Cup gold in Shanghai, is currently second in the world rankings with 243 points, behind Korea who have already qualified. The next non-qualified teams are fifth-ranked China (204 points) and eighth-ranked USA (175 points). India are thus poised to take one of the two quotas on offer through the world rankings, which will be confirmed after the Antalya World Cup from June 18-23.

Still, defeat from the jaws of victory on Saturday wasn’t ideal for their confidence. After topping the qualification round and earning a first-round bye, India eased past Luxembourg 6-0 to set up a clash with Mexico’s trio of Matias Grande, Carlos Rojas and Bruno Martinez Wing.

The Indians eked out the first set 57-56 after a couple of 10s and an X (closer to the centre) by Dhiraj. They cruised through the second set 57-53 riding on a 10 each by the trio and at 4-0 up, one point from the next two sets would’ve sufficed.

It never came. An 8 by Pravin Jadhav in the third set cost India as they gave the set 55-56. The Mexicans cranked it up in the fourth set, shooting three 10s and an X while India only hit a solitary 10 through Jadhav in a 58-55 scoreline that unlocked a shoot-off.

The scores were tied in it at 26-all but with India shooting 8, 9, 9 and Mexico firing an inconsistent X, 7 and 9, the latter came out winners on account of the closest arrow to the centre.

The individual quota events will take place on Sunday and Monday. India so far has just one quota through Dhiraj, who bagged it at the Asian Continental Qualifier Tournament last November.

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