Den Bosch (The Netherlands)
The Olympic quota already booked, the Indian’s men’s recurve team reached the final of the World Archery Championships for the first time since 2005 after it shocked a formidable Netherlands here Thursday.
The Indian team will be seeking its maiden title as it faces China in the summit clash on Sunday. China ousted top seed Korea 6-2 in the other semifinal Thursday.
A day after securing the 2020 Tokyo Olympics three-man quota by making the quarterfinals, the India trio of Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das and Pravin Jadhav held their nerves to come from behind and win 29-28 in the shoot-off for an overall score of 5-4.
This is the second time ever when the men’s recurve team reached the World Championships final. At Madrid 2005, the Indian team comprising Rai, Jayanta Talukdar and Gautam Singh had lost to Korea 232-244 in the summit clash.
India also remained in the medal contention in the women’s compound team event as the trio of Jyothi Surekha Vennam, Muskan Kirar and Raj Kaur faces Turkey in the bronze medal playoff Saturday.
Asian Games silver medalist Jyothi will also fight for a second bronze when she takes on world number two Yesim Bostan of Turkey in the third place play-off on Saturday.
Having thrashed Chinese Taipei 6-0 in the quarterfinals, the Indian men’s recurve team found a strong challenge from the second seeded home team led by world number two Steve Wijler, a bronze medallist two years ago in Mexico City.
The other two players of Netherlands were 2016 Rio Olympics semifinalist Sjef van den Berg and London 2012 semifinalist Rick.
The Indians twice trailed in the match but spearheaded by Rai, who was a member of the silver winning team at the Madrid World Championship 14 years ago, the trio showed character to bounce back each time and forced the match to the shoot-off.
Using the conditions better than the home team, the Indians shot a near-perfect 29 out of 30 to edge out the Netherlands by one point.
This was also for the first time since 2014 the Indian men’s team reached the final of a world event. India had ended up with a silver at the Wroclaw Stage IV World Cup in 2014 with Rai, Das and Jayanta Talukdar in the team.
The Indian team last won a gold in a World Cup event nine years ago at the World Cup Stage IV in Shanghai with Rai being a member of that team also.