Deepika Kumari eyes gold at archery World CupSeptember 2, 2017
Four-time runner-up Deepika Kumari will bid for a maiden gold medal at the Archery World Cup Final which begins here on Saturday.
Seven top seeds from the four stages of the World Cup along with one entry from the host nation make the cut for the Final to determine the season’s best.
The opening day of the two-day meet at the Stadio dei Marmi here see the compound section compatitions where no Indian is in fray. Deepika’s first hurdle, the quarterfinal match, will be at 2.45 p.m. on Sunday.
She faces a tough opponent in her Rio Olympics nemesis Ya-Ting Tan, a 23-year-old from Chinese Taipei who was part of the bronze-winning team in 2016, and had ousted the Indian in the individual pre-quarterfinal.
Ya-Ting is fresh from winning a double silver at the Summer Universiade at home last month, and has won three golds and two silvers in this year’s World Cups, and will be third seeded here.
Deepika’s last World Cup medal was a silver, and that came before the Rio Olympics, at the Antalya World Cup 2016; and she has been on a lean patch since then.
The 23-year-old from Ranchi may not have any medal this season yet, but has the second-highest average arrow in matchplay of any of the eight recurve contestants here, and has loads of experience. The sixth-seeded Indian will start as a dark horse among the likes of Ya Ting, the Korean duo of Chang Hye Jin (top seed) and Ki Bo Bae, the reigning and former Olympic champions.
All three individual matches she has lost in 2017 were high scoring affairs: two quarterfinals and one fourth round, and unless she is unlucky in Rome, her per-arrow form should be to see her podium a fifth time.
Dola Banerjee is the only Indian to have win a World Cup Final gold, a feat she had achieved in Dubai 2007, and she says Deepika has it in her to win.
“She has no medal to show this season but her scores have been promising,” Dola told PTI.
A one-day event like the World Cup has an element of luck.
“You will have just three matches. It all depends how you start. Anything can happen,” says Dola.