Antalya, April 20
India stormed into the final of the men’s recurve team event for the first time in nine years after registering three wins in the ongoing Archery World Cup Stage 1, here on Thursday.
The trio of Atanu Das, B Dhiraj and Tarundeep Rai will face China in the gold medal clash on Sunday in pursuit of India’s first World Cup gold medal in the men’s recurve team event after 13 years.
The men’s recurve team, which got a first-round bye after qualifying as the fourth seed, faced a stiff challenge to begin with as it defeated 13th seed Japan 5-4 with a 29-28 win in the shoot-off.
The Indians shot two perfect 10 from three attempts (10, 10, 9) to seal the issue in the tie-breaker after both the teams were locked 4-4 (49-52, 57-52, 54-51, 52-57) following four sets of intense shooting.
Thereafter, it was an easy sailing for the Indian trio that got past 12th seed Chinese Taipei and ninth seed Netherlands by identical 6-2 margins to set up a summit clash with second seed China.
The Netherlands will take on Slovenia in the bronze play-off.
It was an easy outing against Chinese Taipei as the Indian men’s recurve team raced to 4-0 lead before sealing the issue 6-2 (55-54, 57-54, 51-53, 58-56) with four 10s including an X (closer to the centre).
Next up, were the Netherlands who were on a high after eliminating top-seed and tournament hosts Turkey (6-0), a team that included the reigning Olympic champion Mete Gazoz.
The Dutch raced to a 2-0 lead but the Indians came back strongly to win 6-2 (56-58, 57-53, 57-55, 56-54).
Incidentally, it is at the same Mediterranean coastal resort of Antalya where the Indian men’s recurve team had tasted its first success in a World Cup way back in 2008.
The team of Jayanta Talukdar, Rahul Banerjee and Mangal Singh Champia defeated their Malaysia rivals 218-215 en route to a maiden recurve men’s team gold medal in the World Cup.
Since then, Indian men’s recurve team have won five gold medals in the World Cup.
India had last won a World Cup gold medal in men’s recurve team event in Shanghai in 2010.
The 39-year-old Army man Rai was also a member of the gold-winning side in Shanghai when he along with Talukdar and Banerjee defeated Japan 224-220 in the final.
India reached the final twice in 2014 — Stage 2 Medellin and Stage 4 Wroclaw—but on both the occasions the team returned with silver medals.
At Medellin, India lost to Korea in the tie-breaker, while Mexico won the gold medal clash with a 5-3 win in Wroclaw.
Korea have pulled out of the World Cup because of their selections which are running simultaneously.