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Bhajan Kaur Secures Olympic Archery Berth With Gold At Final Qualifier

Premier archer Deepika Kumari put up a woeful show to exit in her first match, but the inexperienced Bhajan Kaur grabbed the limelight by stunning top-seed Mobina Fallah of Iran without dropping a set to clinch the gold

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Bhajan Kaur clinches gold medal and secures the Paris Olympics berth. Photo: worldarchery/X
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Bhajan Kaur clinched India an Olympic individual quota in style, winning a gold medal at the 'Archery In Paris Final Olympic Qualifier' in Antalya, Turkey on Sunday. (More Sports News)

Premier archer Deepika Kumari put up a woeful show to exit in her first match, but the inexperienced Bhajan grabbed the limelight by stunning top-seed Mobina Fallah of Iran without dropping a set to clinch the gold.

The third seeded Bhajan showed exceptional shooting to go all the way.

She defeated Mobina 6-2 (28-26, 29-29, 29-26, 29-29) in a one-sided final.

Her teammate Ankita Bhakat made a quarterfinal exit, but she also secured an individual Olympic quota by virtue of that last-eight entry.

The individual quotas are allotted to the top-eight nations. Each country gets one individual quota. India thus have secured individual quotas in both men's and women's sections.

Dhiraj Bommadevara had secured the men's individual quota from the Asian qualifying leg earlier.

Bhajan, who got a bye into the round of 32, started off by overcoming Urantungalag Bishindee of Mongolia 6-2 (29-27, 28-26, 26-29, 27-24).

Bhajan later dropped one set but got the better of Urska Cavic of Slovenia 7-3 (28-22, 29-18, 28-28, 26-27,27-24) to make the last eight where she outclassed Wioleta Myszor 6-0 (30-28, 27-24, 30-28), shooting two perfect sets.

It was Mobina who ousted Ankita in the quarters with a hard-fought 6-4 win (27-27, 28-27, 27-29, 27-27, 29-28).

In the semis, Bhajan toppled Alexandara Mirca 6-2 (27-26, 28-27, 26-27, 27-26).

Ankita was the first to enter the quarters and confirm the quota when she outplayed Gabrielle Monica Bidaure of Philippines in the last-16.

Ninth seed Ankita cruised to a 6-0 (26-23, 28-22, 28-23) win over her 40th seeded rival in the pre-quarterfinals.

In the earlier rounds, Ankita had defeated Shelley Hilton 6-4 (24-26, 25-25, 28-20, 25-25, 27-25) and Mikaella Moshe 7-3 (28-25, 25-27, 27-27, 28-25, 26-25), both from Israel, to make it to the last-16.

Deepika falters

Earlier, Deepika, who qualified for this event as second seed, suffered an embarrassing opening round defeat to little known Yaylagul Ramazanova of Azerbaijan.

The former world No. 1 won the opening two sets to lead 4-0, but her shooting went horribly wrong in the next two where she scored 23 and 24 points respectively, landing five of her six arrows in the outer rings.

She shot thrice in the eight-point red ring, once in the seven-point red ring and while another hit the outer six-point ring as Yaylagul gleefully brought it level at 4-4.

The Azerbaijan archer then won the fifth set with a solid display for a splendid 6-4 (26-28, 25-27, 23-26, 24-25, 27-29) win.

"There was no equipment malfunction but she had poor release after failing to anchor her bow properly. It could be pressure or something else," a team official told PTI.

Team quotas still on radar

Indian men's and women's teams failed to seal the quotas from the Final Olympic Qualifier. The men's team had qualified as top seed but lost to Mexico in the quarterfinals. The women's team, who got fifth seed in rankings round, exited in the pre-quarters.

But it's a matter of time before they secure the team berths based on their rankings.

The top two nations from among the countries who have not got team quotas will make the cut for the Paris Olympics on June 24 after the third stage of the World Cup beginning in Turkey on Tuesday.

The world No 2 men's team and No 8 women's outfit are ahead in rankings among the non-qualified nations.

The men's team have 238 points behind South Korea who have already qualified.

Chinese Taipei and Italy, who are behind India in the rankings, have already qualified.

India's nearest competitors are China (196 points), USA (175), Canada (170) and Spain (171) who cannot surpass India's rankings even if they secure gold at the World Cup Stage III.

The women's team is currently No. 8 behind South Korea, China, Germany, France, Mexico, USA and Chinese Taipei -- all these seven nations have already got team quotas.

It means the Indian women's team with 185 points are at the top of the rankings race with Indonesia (179.5), Colombia (152), Italy (150), Vietnam (139), Brazil (139), Spain (137.5) and Japan (131.5) are also in the race.

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