Archer Deepika Kumari won her first individual gold medal in six years at the Salt Lake World Cup following a 7-3 win over Germany’s Michelle Kroppen in the recurve final. The win ensured Deepika will represent the country at the season-ending Archery World Cup Final in Samsun, Turkey in October. “Finally! That’s what I said when I won this gold medal,” said Deepika after four silver medal finishes.
In six appearances at the Archery World Cup, Deepika had come back with silver medals in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015 but this time she finally got the elusive yellow metal. The last time she won a stage medal was back in 2015 but the last time she won at a stage event on the international circuit goes even further back to Antalya in 2012.
Against her stood indoor world team champion Kroppen who will be the highest ranked German recurve archer following the tournament. Making her first individual event final, Kroppen had her task cut out from the get go as she was aware she was averaging 9.08 points per arrow compared to Deepika’s 9.21 points per arrow.
In the final, Deepika started off better by taking the opening set 29-28 and taking a 2-0 set lead. Both shot 10, 9 and 9 in the second set to stand level at 28-28 which brought the match down to 3-1. Kroppen won the third set 27-26 and levelled the match at 3-3. Deepika showed her experience in the final two sets as the pressure started to kick in. Kroppen shot a 7 on her third arrow to hand the fourth set (29-26) to the Indian archer. With all to do in the final set, Kroppen scored 8 points on her third arrow and Deepika won the fifth set 27-26 and with that, the match.
“I was repeating to myself, ‘just do it the best, this is your time; just enjoy your game and forget about winning or losing and have fun’,” said Deepika.
Deepika will be making her seventh appearance at the season-ending tournament in Turkey and stressed on the need to enjoying her game. “Do I feel relieved to qualify? Yes and no. I’m not expecting anything, at the moment I’m just enjoying my game, I want to enjoy my game,” she added.
Earlier on Saturday, Abhishek Verma had won an individual silver in the Compound category and was part of the mixed team bronze winning side alongside Jyothi Surekha Vennam. But in the recurve mixed team bronze medal match, Kumari and Atanu Das came second best to Chinese Taipei to lose narrowl by 5-4 margin.