Indian couple Atanu Das, Deepika Kumari win golds at Archery World Cup

Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari claimed the individual men’s and women’s golds while Deepika Kumari also led the women’s team to gold.

By Rahul Venkat ·

The Indian archery team ended the Archery World Cup Stage I with four medals – three golds and a bronze – at Guatemala City on Sunday.

Former world No. 1 and Olympian Deepika Kumari won two golds on the day – winning the women’s team and the individual women’s recurve events at the Sports Complex Los Arcos.

Her husband and India No. 1 Atanu Das claimed the men’s individual recurve gold while also winning the mixed team bronze with Ankita Bhakat.

The four medals capped off India’s best performance at the Archery World Cup.

Deepika Kumari began the day with a thrilling final in the women’s recurve team event with compatriots Ankita Bhakat and Komolika Bari – all three of whom are included in the Indian team for Tokyo 2020, should they qualify.

The Indian trio was up against Mexico’s Ana Vazquez, Alejandra Valencia and Aida Roman in the final.

India outshot Mexico 57-56 to take the first set before the latter hit back with identical scores 57-55 to win the next two sets.

With the pressure on them, the Indian team shot three nines and three 10s in the final set to come back in style to win 57-52 and force a shoot-off.

Ankita Bhakat and Komolika Bari shot a nine and eight while Mexico shot nine and 10 to sneak ahead.

Deepika Kumari stepped up superbly, shooting the bulls-eye and with Mexico needing nine to win, Aida Roman – an Olympics silver-medallist - could only manage seven as India took gold in a thriller.

This was India's fifth recurve women’s team gold at an Archery World Cup. They had previously won in Shanghai 2011, Medellin 2013 and at Wroclaw in 2013 and 2014.

Deepika Kumari then saw off Alejandra Valencia 7-3 for a second time in the women’s individual recurve semis.

Up against USA’s Mackenzie Brown in the final, Deepika Kumari won two sets, lost two more and tied one to set up a second shoot-off of the day for gold and came up clutch once again.

Both Brown and Deepika shot nines but the Indian archer had hit her shot closer to the centre, which was enough to give her the individual gold medal. It was her third World Cup gold medal after Antalya 2012 and Salt Lake 2018.

“It’s a long time since I played and I’m still shaking, so it was great. I am feeling happy and nervous at the same time,” Deepika Kumari said.

“All medals give us so much confidence and push me up to give better performances. I always go strong, and want to keep playing hard and training hard.”

Atanu Das meanwhile claimed his first-ever World Cup medal, beating Spain’s Daniel Castro in the men’s individual recurve final to win gold. It was India’s first individual men’s recurve gold in the World Cup since Jayanta Talukdar won in 2009.

Atanu Das won the first set but lost the next two before roaring back with a 10, nine and nine to claim the fourth set. With the gold depending on the fifth and final set, Atanu Das shot a perfect 30 – hitting 10s with all three arrows – to outscore Daniel Castro by one point and punched the air in delight.

“It feels amazing. It’s like dreams are coming true. I was working so long, for so many years and now it’s paying off. This is my first title and I’m very happy,” Atanu said.

“I just give my best and be in the present, that’s it. I didn’t think of the future or the past, I just enjoy and be in the present. It’s beautiful. It’s a big morale boost for me. The Olympics are this year so I’m working in the right way.”

This was Atanu Das’ second medal of the day after he had earlier claimed bronze with Ankita Bhakat in the mixed recurve team, beating Americans Brady Ellison and Casey Kaufhold 6-2.