Jyothi, Kaur, Swami win India’s first-ever gold medal at Archery Worlds

In a World Championships where India’s recurve archers haven’t had much to smile about, the compound archers on Friday gave the country a big reason to cheer.

The Indian women’s compound team of Jyothi Surekha Vennam, Aditi Swami and Parneet Kaur won the gold medal at the 2023 Berlin World Archery Championships

The Indian women’s compound team of Jyothi Surekha Vennam, Aditi Swami and Parneet Kaur won the gold medal at the 2023 Berlin World Archery Championships beating Mexico 235-229 in the final. In the process, the trio became the first Indian women’s compound team to carry the tag of world champions, and ensured India opened its medal account in spectacular style —although in a non-Olympic compound discipline — in an otherwise underwhelming World Championships.

Perhaps fittingly, it was Jyothi — she had previously won four silver and two bronze medals at the World Championships—who shot the final arrow to seal the elusive gold for herself and for the country.

“This is very special for us because it’s the first time India has won the gold medal and become world champion,” the 27-year-old Jyothi, who bagged three silver medals (team, individual and team mixed) from the 2021 edition, was quoted as saying by World Archery. “We are hopeful that going forward, we will win more medals for the country.”

The experienced Jyothi had for company two young talents, 17-year-old Aditi and Parneet, 18. Aditi has taken some rapid strides in her promising career already. Last month, she became the Under-18 compound world champion at the Youth World Championships in Limerick and in the month before that, shattered the Under-18 compound women qualifying record. Parneet, meanwhile, had won an individual bronze in the Asia Cup Leg 2 held in Tashkent in April-May this year. On a stage much bigger and accompanied by a lot more pressure, the two youngsters stood up to the challenge.

“We are very happy to win gold,” Parneet said. “Our complete focus was on winning and ensuring that we followed the process… (and) therefore we could win gold. There was a lot of noise and everybody was cheering but we were not affected by that, we just concentrated on how to shoot our best.”

After a bye in the first round, the second-seeded Indian team began the run by eking out a close 230-228 win over Turkey before also edging past Chinese Taipei 228-226 in the quarter-finals. The trio was a lot more clinical in its 220-216 semi-final victory against Colombia, seeded third, and carried the momentum into the final against the top seeds.

India set the pace against Mexico from the first round itself, where the three shot an impressive 59 — including two Xs (closer to the centre) from the five 10s — out a possible 60 to Mexico’s 57. Jyothi, Aditi and Parneet continued to hit more than miss, shooting just one 9 each in the second and third round to register two more scores of 59 and open up a comfortable 177-172 lead heading into the final round.

Needing just 5 from the last shot for the gold, Jyothi’s arrow landed at 9 for a final round score of 58. A wide grin on her face was followed by fist bumps between the three history-makers.

They’re not done yet. All three of them have also made the quarter-finals of the individual women’s compound event, and will battle for more glory on Saturday. While one of Jyothi or Parneet will advance from an all-India last-eight clash, Aditi will face on Dutchwoman Sanne de Laat for a place in the semi-finals.

The compound archers’ show has been in contrast to that of the recurve archers battling for spots for the 2024 Paris Olympics. None of the Indian recurve archers secured a Paris spot or came close to winning a medal from this event.

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