Asian Games: Jyothi, Deotale, Verma in compound archery finals - Hindustan Times

Asian Games: Jyothi, Deotale, Verma in compound archery finals

By, Hangzhou
Oct 03, 2023 09:00 PM IST

India's Atanu Das and Dhiraj squander bright victory chances in the men's individual recurve quarters at the Asian Games.

Eight-time World Championships medallist Jyothi Surekha Vennam stormed into the compound archery final with an exhibition of sublime accuracy at the Fuyang Yinhu Sports Centre here on Tuesday. The 27-year-old beat Indian compatriot Aditi Swami 149-146, overturning a one-point deficit in the final set, to enter her first Asian Games final. Young Aditi will go into the bronze-medal match.

India's Jyothi Surekha Vennam competes against compatriot Aditi Gopichand Swami in the semifinal match of women's compound individual archery event at the 19th Asian Games(PTI)
India's Jyothi Surekha Vennam competes against compatriot Aditi Gopichand Swami in the semifinal match of women's compound individual archery event at the 19th Asian Games(PTI)

Aditi, the junior and senior world champion, beat Nepal's Imayung Rai (149-137) and Indonesia's Syahar Khoerunisa (148-146) on Monday before prevailing over Philippines' Amaya Amparo Cojuangco in the quarter-final (149-143) on Tuesday. Against a much-experienced Surekha she held her own until the penultimate set but floundered in the fifth with an opening 7 that allowed her senior opponent to come back.

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The two Indians hit 10s in their first eight shots before Surekha blinked, hitting a nine and handing the lead to her junior challenger. However, that would be Surekha's only slip in the match. Nerveless under mounting pressure, she didn't miss a 10 again while Aditi cracked in the final set.

Surekha hit a hat-trick of 10s in the three-shot final series while Aditi managed only 7, 9 and 10. "The arrow slipped from the arrow rest on that shot (7), which is what went against her. Aditi was in a great frame of mind and looked set to do a perfect 150 today, but that error not only ended the chances of a 150 but gave Jyothi a chance to come back, which she did. The important thing is Aditi did not lose her cool and shot 9 and 10 to close the match," archery high performance director, Sanjeeva Singh, said.

"It was a great day for Indian archery. Had the draw been favourable, the two girls would have met in the final," he said.

The morning conditions were "ideal and home-like" with the temperature in the low 20 degrees Celsius. "The conditions were just like Sonepat. In fact, it felt we were shooting in our SAI range. The temperature was ideal, and the wind was manageable and didn't change direction, which made it easy."

Aditi had beaten Surekha in the semi-finals of the Berlin World Championships in August, going on to become the youngest world archery champion. She is also the youth world champion, a title which she won in Limerick,Ireland in July.

In her first Asiad, the 17-year-old from Satara, Maharashtra beat Nepal's Imayung Rai (149-137), Indonesia's Syahara Khoerunisa (148-146), and Philippines' Amaya Amparo Cojuangco in the quarter-final (149-143) before losing to Surekha. Her score against Cojuangco is an Asian Games record.

"She's my role model and it was fun to play against her. Losing to her in the semi-final is not a big deal because ultimately an Indian has gone into the final," Aditi said.

The youngest member of the archery team credited her seniors for making her feel comfortable. "All my teammates were my inspiration, so when I made it to the Indian senior team this year, I was a bit stunned. They help me out a lot like an older sister or brother would."

Surekha too has had a dominant run so far, which started with a 145-132 rout of Sri Lanka's Anuradha Karunaratne and a 146-141 win over Iraq's Fatimah Saad Mahmood. On Tuesday, she beat Kazakhstan's Adel Zhexenbinova (147-144) before beating Aditi.

In the bronze play-off, Aditi will face Indonesia's Ratih Zilizati Fadhly on October 7. World No.4 Surekha will fight for the gold the same day against South Korea's Asian record holder, So Chae-won.

Among men, world champion Ojas Deotale and Abhishek Verma secured an all-India final in individual compound archery.

Verma won 147-145 against South Korean top seed Joo Jae-hoon Joo while Deotale, with back-to-back 150 scores, also beat Korea's Yang Jae-won by four points. The Koreans will battle it out for bronze medal ahead of the October 7 final.

In men's recurve, India's Dhiraj Bommadevara lost to Kazakhstan's Ilfat Abdullin 6-5 in a quarterfinal contest that went to the shoot-off where Abdullin hit the 10 while Bommadevara managed a 9. Dhiraj was hit by nerves as he twice shot outside the target to squander his advantage.

The seasoned Atanu Das lost to China's Xiangshuo Qi in the shoot-off, losing on inner 10s.

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    Shantanu Srivastava is an experienced sports journalist who has worked across print and digital media. He covers cricket and Olympic sports.

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