The Indian men’s recurve team signed off with a silver medal after going down to China by the thinnest of margins in a shoot-off at the Archery World Cup Stage 1, on Sunday.
In pursuit of their first World Cup gold medal since 2010, the men’s recurve team, comprising Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das and Dhiraj Bommadevara, bounced back from being 0-4 down to level and force a shoot-off. But the trio went down 4-5 (54-55, 50-56, 59-58, 56-55, 28-28*) with the Chinese team of Li Zhongyuan, Qi Xiangshuo and Wei Shahoxu hitting an X (closer to the centre) in the shoot-off in a dramatic finish.
India now have two golds, one silver from Stage 1 of the meet, while Dhiraj is also in the medal hunt in recurve individual category.
In hindsight, the team would rue its pathetic second set where it totalled just 50 out of a possible 60, after hitting the red rings thrice (one 7 and two 8s) as China won by six points to take a 4-0 lead.
India had a slow start and China took the first set by a slender one-point margin.
It was only in the third set the team bucked up to drill in a series of five 10s including three Xs. China then cracked under pressure in the fourth set which India won by a one-point margin.
It was so near, yet so far for the Indians as a gold medal continued to elude the Olympic recurve archers yet another time.
In 2014, India came close to winning the World Cup twice in Stage 2 Medellin and Stage 4 Wroclaw, but on both occasions they ended up losing.
India have so far won five gold medals in the men’s recurve team event. It is at the same Mediterranean coastal resort of Antalya where the Indian men’s recurve team had tasted its first success in a World Cup way back in 2008.
India had last won a World Cup gold medal in men’s recurve team event in Shanghai in 2010.
The 39-year-old Army man Rai was also a member of the gold-winning side in Shanghai when he along with Jayanta Talukdar and Rahul Banerjee had defeated Japan 224-220 in the final.