Asian Games 2023, Recurve Archery: Men Win Silver, Women Bronze; End 13-Year Medal Wait

The Indian men's and women's recurve archery teams bagged the country's first Asiad medals in the Olympic-discipline category since Guangzhou 2010. India now have eight medals in archery at the Hangzhou Asian Games

The medal-winning Indian men's and women's recurve archery teams in Hangzhou.

A 13-year wait ended in archery on Friday when the Indian men's and women's teams surpassed expectations to clinch a silver and bronze respectively, their first medals since 2010, at the Asian Games here on Friday. Battling injuries, the recurve team of Ankita Bhakat, Simranjeet Kaur and Bhajan Kaur defied odds to clinch a bronze medal in the morning session. The fifth-seeded women's trio dropped just one set to down their Vietnamese rivals 6-2 (56-52, 55-56, 57-50, 51-48) and secure their first-ever Asian Games medal in the Olympic-discipline category since Guangzhou 2010. (Medal Tally | Schedule | Streaming | Full Coverage | Sports News)

The women's team's splendid show then rubbed off on their male counterparts as the triumvirate of Atanu Das, Tushar Shelke, and Dhiraj Bommadevara returned with a silver medal.

They defeated Bangladesh's Sagor Islam, Hakim Rubel and Ruman Shana 5-3 (58-51, 57-54, 56-58, 57-57) in a lopsided semifinal.

But up against heavyweights South Korea in the gold medal clash, the Indian trio faltered 5-1 (55-60, 57-57, 55-56). The Indians had a splendid second set, drawing level to make it 1-3. 

In the third set, the Koreans slipped to the 8-ring but that did not matter much as Lee Wooseok, Oh Jinhyek and Kim Je Deok pipped India by a point to take the third set and seal the gold.

The last time India had won a medal in recurve category at the Asian Games was 13 years ago when they bagged an individual silver and team bronze medals in men's and women's events.

For India, this was their record eighth medal overall in archery at the ongoing games. They have already won three team gold medals in mixed, women's and men's events of the non-Olympic compound section.

Abhishek Verma and Ojas Deotale are vying for a top-two finish, having made it an all-India final in compound individual section. 

Jyothi Surekha Vennam has also advanced into the women's compound individual final, assuring at least a silver medal.

The fifth-seeded Indian women's team started the day on a positive manner ousting higher-ranked Japan 6-2 (53-49, 56-54, 53-54, 54-51) in the quarterfinals to seal a clash against heavyweights South Korea.

Boasting triple Olympic gold winner from Tokyo, An San, the top-seeded Koreans were the next in line but the Indians managed to snatch one set from the top-seed before going down 2-6 (54-56, 54-57, 57-55, 52-57). 

In the bronze playoff, 18-year-old Bhajan Kaur, who is battling a shoulder injury for more than a year, stood out with six 10s from her eight arrows as they overcame lower-ranked Vietanmese in a dramatic finish. 

Do Thi Anh Nguyet, Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhi and Hoang Phuong Thao bounced back from 0-2 behind to make it 2-2 and the Indians then regained the lead with Bhajan drilling in two 10s in the penultimate end.

Indian shot last in the final set and they needed 21 points from final three arrows.

Shooting second Simranjeet Kaur, who too carried a shoulder niggle, slipped to the six-ring.

Bhajan, who shot last among the trio, needed a seven to seal the bronze. The teenager showed amazing calmness to come up with an 8 to end the 13-year wait.

"It was a very important medal for us. We have been practising for a lot of years and it's very valuable for us and I'm very happy," said Simranjeet.

On handling pressure, she said: "Because when you are shooting for something, it's a pressure situation. But we as a team, we just focused on ourselves."

In men's event later in the day, seniormost Atanu Das fumbled twice before coming up with a perfect 10 in the shoot-off as India overcame some jittery moments to go past 11th seeded Mongolia 5-4 (58-52, 55-56, 59-56, 56-58) (28-25) in the quarterfinal.

The match had its ups and downs with India losing their lead twice to Mongolia when Das hit in the red-ring in the second and four set.

But the two-time Olympian, who starts first among the Indian trio, was a picture of calmness in the shootoff hitting a 10 as they totalled 28. 
Mongolia, who were to shoot last, crumbled under pressure and shot their last arrow in the outer seven-ring.