Deepika Kumari equals world record in Shanghai
In an extraordinary afternoon on both sides of the field in Yuanshen Stadium, Deepika Kumari matched the world record for the 72-arrow round in qualification at the first leg of the Hyundai Archery World Cup, with a score of 686.
The compound men shot on the left and Deepika, and the rest of the recurve women’s field, had the right of the line. Conditions from end-to-end, though, were excellent.
Her pedigree on the Hyundai Archery World Cup circuit is enviable. In 2015, she took a fourth silver medal at the circuit finale, after finishing runner-up in three consecutive years from 2011 to 2013.
Deepika was shooting so impressively in Shanghai that at the halfway point she found herself three points ahead of the average for the world record. That mark, 686, was set in 2015 at the Universiade by the reigning Olympic and World Archery Champion, Korea’s Ki Bo Bae.
With 343 for the front half, she stayed ahead of the average for two more ends before dropping two eights and falling a fraction behind. Still, with time, she rallied – and shot strong for the final three ends.
She needed 59 from her last six arrows to break the record, but two nines from her first three shots, in quick succession, left the break out of reach. Pressure off, Deepika calmly drilled her remaining three, finishing with 10s, to match Ki Bo Bae’s world-best mark.
“The fact that it was a record wasn’t really on my mind. I just shot,” said Deepika. “I don’t have any expectations for this week. I just want to give my best. But I’m confident about the rest of the year.”
Kumari’s attempt was the second close-call for a recurve world record on the day, after Brady Ellison had a chance at the men’s ranking round mark in the morning.
It was a rare sight not to see the Korean women’s team lead the ranking round at a Hyundai Archery World Cup stage, but the Korea Archery Association had sent a team of juniors and cadets for their first international duties at this edition of the season opener. They still managed to qualify in second place.
Jo Areum, aged just 18, finished second over the individual ranking round with 676, and later helped take the Korean mixed team to a medal match. She and Park Seong Cheol took down Georgia and Russia before being stopped in the semis, in straight sets, by the USA.
“It was fun,” said Areum. “This is all really just good experience for me, so I tried to just enjoy it. But, at the same time, if I can get a medal in the individual, I’ll go for it.”
Lisa Unruh of Germany finished qualification in third, helping the German women’s team to top the ranking round with 1986.
Flood-lit recurve mixed team eliminations in Yuanshen Stadium, with their unique brand of full-team support and a slightly more relaxed atmosphere, also saw Chinese Taipei upset top-seeded India. Next up: The USA pairing of Brady Ellison and Khatuna Lorig, in the first confirmed gold medal match of the upcoming weekend.