Fifth Archery World Cup medal for Kumari
India had an eventful Archery World Cup, with Abhishek Verma and Deepika Kumari both clinching bronze medals in Turkey. Deepika had a podium finish in the women’s recurve whereas Verma won in the men’s compound event.
Elsewhere, in the compound mixed team event, Abhishek Verma and Jyothi Vennam won a silver medal.
Deepika had to fight off a tough opponent in Germany’s Lisa Unruh. In the bronze medal match after 5 sets were played, both were tied 5-5. The contest had to be decided by shoot-offs. It was a game of nerves there onwards. Ultimately it was Kumari who came out as the winner, winning by a close margin of 6-5.
Deepika is a veteran in the Archery circle, having won four medals at the previous world cup (Istanbul-2011, Tokyo-2012, Paris-2013, and Mexico City-2017, all silvers) This was her fifth medal – most by any Indian in the Archery World Cup Final.
Verma, on the other hand, defeated Kim Jongho of South Korea by a margin of 149-147 in the bronze medal match.
He then partnered Vennam and won the silver after losing out 152-159 to the pair in the mixed event finals.
Started in 2005 by World Archery Federation, Archery World Cup sees participation by global archers compete in four different stages in four different countries. The best eight archers of each category advance to an additional stage to contest the Archery World Cup Final. Samsun, Turkey hosted this year’s Archery World Cup final.
Problems plaguing India’s archery ecosystem
The victories are commendable, especially after the fact that the Indian contingent had to compete without a recognized coach. Earlier last month, after not awarded the Dronacharya honors, the former compound coach, Jiwanjot Singh resigned.
Further compounding their predicament was the de-recognition of the Archery Association of India (AAI). That meant drying out of the funds from the center, as the center doesn’t provide funds to a de-recognized federation. Few or no funds then led to a poor preparation for the foreign events.
The above issues took a toll on the archer’s performance in the 2018 Asia Games in Jakarta. Both the men and women’s recurve team returned empty-handed.
In the face of Olympic 2020, the sports ministry should take a note of these quandaries faced by India’s archery. Although SAI has been, to a certain extent, providing with some funding relief through the government’s TOPS program (Target Olympic Podium Scheme), concrete steps should be taken in the view to solving the derecognition problem.