Abhishek Verma exacts Asian Games revenge
At the Asian Games in 2014, Iran’s Esmaeil Ebadi qualified top, rode a fantastic rhythm through the brackets and beat Abhishek Verma in the gold medal match to secure the first ever compound men’s title at the event. (Incheon was the first edition to include compound archery as a competition discipline.)
One year later, in Wroclaw and at the third stage of the Archery World Cup, Verma had a shot at revenge – and a shot at beating Ebadi to a gold medal.
He didn’t waste the opportunity.
India’s Verma stamped his authority on the match from the very beginning. His first three arrows landed in the 10-ring, and he took a two-point lead from the very start.
Ebadi trailed by two points after the first end and three after the second – only then seemingly catching up with the pace of his opponent.
The pair were both perfect in the third end, 30s, and Abhishek followed it up with another 30 in the fourth. By that time, he was too far ahead – and no string of 10s could catch him.
Across the line with 148 (he dropped a second nine with his last arrow – but it was out by less than a millimetre), he took revenge on Ebadi – and Wroclaw gold – by three points.
“My dream has come true,” Abhishek said, after taking the match. “Everybody wants to put in a performance like that, everyone knows they have it in them. Today, it happened.”
“It’s not the first time I’ve beaten Ebadi, but the last two times I got a silver medal,” he went on to say. The pair actually met in an Asian Grand Prix in Bangkok in 2014, prior to the continental Games.
He reiterated what he said in an interview earlier in the week: That he doesn’t think about his opponent when on the line.
“My only target is the target face,” he finished.
An emotional bronze medal match turned sour in the fourth end.
Another 10 from Damsbo with his 10th arrow, which his USA opponent matched, then he suffered an equipment failure.
For the second time in the competition, a release aid froze up and he couldn’t shoot his shot. The same thing happened in his crucial semifinal.
The arrow went down as a miss, and that two-point lead suddenly evaporated, replaced by an eight point gap. Over four arrows, an impossible task – especially when Anderson’s closing two ends were all 10s.
“I feel very sorry for Martin,” said Steve. “I don’t want to beat a guy because of an equipment failure. I want to beat him because I beat him.”
Martin, Steve said, is one of the “nicest guys in the world”. It was the States’ archer’s first Archery World Cup podium, and he did allow himself the credit a 147-point match deserves.
“I shot good arrows, that’s the other side of it. I went out on the stage and shot well.”
Dane Damsbo was nothing but professional about the match. “It shot fine in the team rounds,” he said, talking about his release aid. “Well, that’s that. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”
“We had a really good match. Steve was on fire, too – and neither of us wanted it to be that way.”