The Indian women archers won their maiden team medal, a bronze, after losing a thrilling semifinal battle to World and Olympic Champions South Korea which was decided by a shootout at the Aoti range here today.
The trio of Deepika Kumari, a gold medal winner in last month’s Commonwealth Games, Dola Banerjee and Rimil Buriuly lost the tense semifinal shootout to the Koreans 26-29 after being level on points (221 each) after the completion of the four regulations sets.
Later in the bronze medal play-off, the Indian women’s threesome subdued a strong challenge from Chinese Taipei 218-217 to clinch a historic first team medal in the bow and arrow game in the Games’ history.
The Indian women rattled the Koreans with their never-say-die attitude and matched them arrow for arrow and even led the world champions at one stage before falling by the wayside finally.
In the semis, the Koreans won the opener 56-54 only for the Indians to clinch the next 56-54 and then led the favourites by two points by clinching the third set 57-55.
However, the Indian women failed to apply the knock-out punch and lost the fourth set 54-56 to lead to the tie-break after both teams were level at 221 points each.
In the shootout, the more experienced Koreans, shot 9, 10 and 10 while the Indians replied with 9, 8 and 9 and lost the battle.
The Indians, however, denied there was any extra pressure on them.
“There was no pressure. We were shooting normally and confidently,” said teenaged archer Deepika.
“This is the first time we won a medal in these Games and it is a great morale booster,” she said, adding, she hoped to do well in the individual events that follow on November 23.
Dola said that after today’s fight, the Koreans would not take her and other Indians lightly.
“I don’t think that in future the Koreans will ever take us lightly. We played as well as they did, but luck was not with us. But this is not an excuse,” said India’s best-known woman archer.
Keywords: Asian Games 2010