IMAGE: Deepika Kumari, Ankita Bhakat and Simranjeet Kaur beat Ukraine, Britain and Turkey en route the summit clash. Photograph: Archery Association of India/Twitter
India’s recurve archers, who had a nightmarish qualification round in the women’s event, bounced back strongly to storm into the final, confirming their first medal at the ongoing World Cup Stage 3 in Paris on Thursday.
A day after all of them slipped out of top-30 in the qualifying round to get a lowly 13th seed, the trio of Deepika Kumari, Ankita Bhakat and Simranjeet Kaur beat Ukraine, Britain and Turkey en route the summit clash.
They will be against Chinese Taipei in the final on Sunday.
The Indian women’s recurve trio started off by eliminating fourth-seed Ukraine 5-1 (57-53 57-54 55-55).
Against Great Britain in the quarterfinals, they dropped just four points to down their opponents 6-0 (59-51 59-51 58-50).
In the semifinals, the Indian team had a slow start, aggregating 56 in the first set but their eighth-seeded Turkish rivals of Gulnaz Coskun, Ezgi Basaran and Yasemin Anagoz shot a poor 51 to concede the first set by five points.
The Indians stepped up in the second set to edge out their rivals by one point before they went on to lose their first set of the day when the Turkish team won the third 55-54 to make it 2-4.
Needing a tie in the fourth set to confirm their passage to the final, the Indians held their nerves for a 5-3 (56-51 57-56 54-55 55-55) win.
Luck also was on their side as they did not have to face their nemesis Koreans as the top-seeds were upset by eighth-seeded Turkish team in the quarterfinals.
In the final on Sunday, they will be up against the third seed Chinese Taipei, who have Rio Olympics team bronze medallist Lei Chien-Ying in their ranks.
Star compound archer Jyothi Surekha Vennam, who qualified as second seed, kept India in the hunt for a second medal, advancing into the semifinals in the women’s individual section.
The World Championship silver medallist overcame Lisell Jaatma of Estonia 149-148 in some intense shooting that went to the last arrow of the deciding fifth end where the Indian shot an X to seal the issue.
Both the archers had three perfect ends to start with to be locked 90-all. The penultimate end too was a neck-and-neck affair with both shooting 29 each, making it 119-all.
But the 22-year-old Estonian cracked under pressure in the fifth end when she shot a 9, as Jyothi sealed the issue with three 10s including an X (closer to centre).
In the semifinals, world no. 3 Jyothi will face 48-year-old Frenchwoman Sophie Dodemont, the Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist, who switched to compound discipline after failing to make the 2012 London Games team.
India’s campaign ended in the men’s compound individual section after former World Cup champion Abhishek Verma made a last-eight exit with a narrow 147-148 loss to Jean Pizarro of Puerto Rico.
The men’s recurve team of Tarundeep Rai, Jayanta Talukdar and Pravin Jadhav, seeded eighth, was eliminated after losing in the first round against Switzerland.
Having got a bye into the pre-quarterfinals, the Indian trio lost 4-5 to Florian Faber, Keziah Chabin and Thomas Rufer in the shoot-off (53-57 58-54 49-53 58-50) (25-25).
The shoot-off was also a tie and the Swiss team was declared winner since its final arrow landed close to the centre.
Locked two-all, the Indians suffered badly in the third set, shooting a series of five 8s, which proved to be decisive in the end.