Indian archers Kumari, Verma make finals in Salt Lake

21 June 2018
Salt Lake City (USA)
It’s been more than three years since either of them made a gold medal match at a stage of the World Cup.

Deepika Kumari and Abhishek Verma will shoot for the recurve women’s and compound men’s individual gold medals at the third stage of the 2018 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Salt Lake City, USA, with opportunities to secure invitations to the circuit final with victories.

“I really needed this kind of boost in my life,” said Deepika. “It’s been a really long time since the last time I made an individual gold medal match at a World Cup stage.”

A four-time silver medallist at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final, Deepika’s last stage gold medal match appearance dates back to Shanghai in 2013.

After scoring 629/720 points over the 72-arrow 70-metre ranking round, she beat Erin Mickelberry, Ren Hayakawa, Ana Maria Rendon and Gabriela Bayardo to make the finals. In the semifinal against Bayardo, Deepika was four points down before tying the match at four points each.

She took the last set 27 points to 23, for a 6-4 match win.

“I was telling myself that I was capable of winning the match. I was focusing on my heartbeat, trying to stay as calm as possible and on staying positive the whole time. This gives me more confidence for upcoming competitions,” added Deepika.

She will face Germany’s Michelle Kroppen in the final, who said she was “very excited” to be making her debut in the finals arena.

“I wasn’t feeling strong this morning, the wind was strong but I was lucky to have my coach behind advising me on every arrow as the wind was switching,” Kroppen added.

At the other end of the field, Deepika’s Indian teammate Abhishek Verma was securing his own finals berth. On the day of his 28th birthday, he beat Anton Bulaev of Russia with a perfect 150-point semifinal to advance to the gold medal match.

“I tried to shoot perfect today and it worked,” said Verma. “I think the wind was better today than in qualification, but thanks to those conditions early this week I knew how to read the wind.”

Verma beat Akbarali Karabayev, Austin Taylor and PJ Deloche before meeting the Russian athlete in the semis. He will go head-to-head with world number one Stephan Hansen of Denmark in the final.

“This is my second gold medal match, I won in Poland in 2015 and we’ll see what happens on Saturday this time,” said Verma. 

“If I can shoot as I did today, no-one can stop me, not even Stephan.”

The third stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup takes place in Salt Lake City, USA on 18-24 June.