India men's recurve team had already booked three quota places for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Wednesday and a day later, by beating the Netherlands in a closely fought match, they progressed to the World Archery Championships final. India will take on China in s-Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) in the Netherlands for the gold medal. The last time Indian men's recurve team had reached the final of a World Championship was back in Madrid in 2005.
The trio of Atanu Das, Pravin Ramesh Jadhav and Tarundeep Rai beat Netherland's Steve Wijler, Sjef van den Berg and Rick van der Ven in a semi-final shoot-off to book a place in the gold medal match. Earlier, in the quarter-final, also on Thursday, India had made their intentions clear with win over high-profile Chinese Taipei team.
India beat Netherlands 5-4 in the semifinal. The hosts began by winning the first set 56-54 and third set 57-56 with India winning the second set and fourth set 52-49 and 57-55 respectively. With teams locked at 4-4, a shoot-off was necessary. There, India prevailed by a slender 29-28 margin.
“We’ve actually worked very hard. We came to the Netherlands 10 days before the world championships, we practised in Breda and that helped us a lot to win. We understand the wind and all conditions. We just enjoyed ourselves and gave our best,” said Atanu.
Sixth-ranked India had made their intentions of going far in the tournament clear with a 6-0 blanking of third-ranked Chinese Taipei. With 55-52, 55-48 and 55-54 wins in three sets, India booked a spot in the last-four.
“We are going to enjoy and give our best. This is the moment we’ve been waiting for so long, it’s the top moment [for us],” added Atanu.
China, India's opponents in the final, upset first seed South Korea in their semi-final (6-2).
The women's recurve team competition will witness Korea take on Chinese Taipei. Korea are overwhelming favourites and have won 13 of 20 world titles in the category since the inception of their emergence on the scene in 1979.
'Acclimatisation to conditions led to good show'
India had come to Netherlands woefully short on exposure. They had missed the season-opening World Cup Stage 1 in Medellin in April. But it was the early arrival in Europe that helped them.
"We came to the Netherlands 11 days before. We practised at Breda and it helped us acclimatise to the conditions. We are thankful to the Archery Association of India (for organising this)," Atanu told PTI.
Archery Association of India (AAI) had organised a 11-day camp for the recurve archers at Breda, just 38 kilometres from the venue to acclimatise with the weather conditions.
"We got used to the weather and could gauge the wind direction perfectly and shot accordingly. We became very familiar with the conditions. We just enjoyed and gave our best," he added as India bettered the Dutch 29-28 in the shoot-off for an overall score of 5-4.
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Updated Date: Jun 13, 2019 20:29:26 IST