Mixed pair of Jemson Ningthoujam and Ankita Bhakat clinched the recurve team gold medal as India returned with three medals from the World Archery Youth Championship in Rosario.
This is India’s first world title at the youth championships since Deepika Kumari’s victories in 2009 and 2011. India also bagged one silver and one bronze in a promising show by the youngsters.
Ningthoujam and Bhakat, seeded ninth, had upset top-seed Korea in the quarterfinals, before beating their Russian opponents 6-2 in the final on Sunday. “I was initially feeling a little shaky but I shot very well and we won the gold. Now I’m happy,” said Bhakat.
“Our coach tried to encourage us both; he was shouting ‘we have to win’, ‘we have to win’, ‘we have to win’,” Ningthoujam said. “The hard work has paid off and now we’ll hear our national anthem.”
Ningthoujam also returned with a second medal when he along with Shukmani Gajanan Babrekar and Atul Verma lost to a heavily-favoured Korean squad in the final of men’s team event to settle for silver.
India also took a bronze medal in the compound cadet women’s event when Khushbu Dhayal, Sanchita Tiwari and Divya Dhawal defeated their opponents from Great Britain 212-206 in the play-off.
The mixed team gold is India’s fourth World Archery Champion title across all disciplines. Deepika had won the recurve cadet title in 2009 and recurve junior crown in 2011; Palton Hansda, in 2006, was the first Indian archer to be crowned world champion, when she
took gold in the compound junior women’s event.