Indian couple Das, Kumari headline recurve final fours in Guatemala

Atanu Das shoots during eliminations at the first stage of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Guatemala City.

Married couple and Olympians Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari of India will share an individual finals arena for the first time in their careers when they shoot for individual golds this Sunday at the first stage of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup.

“I’ve been working for so many years, and I’m finally showing some progression,” Das said after his quarterfinal. “It would be great to win, and to see Deepika do the same.”

Mexico’s Angel Alvarado, Daniel Castro of Spain and Steve Wijler of the Netherlands complete the men’s final four in Guatemala City. Kumari is joined by Mackenzie Brown of the USA, Alejandra Valencia of Mexico and, very much a surprise finalist, Madalina Amaistroaie of Romania in the women’s semifinals.

Das has never had an individual podium on the circuit. His previous best was a fourth-place finish in Antalya in 2016. He will face Alvardo in his first match on Sunday for a chance to contest gold in Guatemala.

“I’m feeling good, because everyone was wondering when international competition was going to start,” Das said. “It has started for me, and it is a good start. I’m working on myself, on my mental side and I think this is helping me a lot to perform well.”

His famous wife has won stages of the Hyundai Archery World Cup before – two, in fact, in Antalya in 2012 and most recently in Salt Lake City in 2018. Those are on top of the five podiums she’s claimed at Hyundai Archery World Cup Finals. But there’s something different about Deepika in 2021 – and it was on display in her quarterfinal appearance.

Kumari was solid if not spectacular through the early phases of elimination, but the match that booked her a spot in the final four was sublime.

Over in three sets, Kumari drilled volleys of 29, 30 and 30 points to beat Germany’s Michelle Kroppen. While the rest of the field contended with the breeze, the world number nine shot fast and shot confidently on the way to victory.

“I had too many thoughts in my mind, and all I wanted to do was to concentrate, to focus and control my mind. I know I can do better. My first match wasn’t that good, and I feel like I didn’t give it all,” she said. “I feel so nervous still, but good as well. I’m happy because I’m finally competing. We waited one-and-a-half years for this, and we’re finally here.”

Kumari is the highest seed remaining in the women’s draw.

The top seeds in both events went out early. Mexico’s Ana Vazquez, who broke the Americas qualification record on Tuesday, was dropped by Spain’s Ines de Velasco in a third-round shoot-off. Reigning Hyundai Archery World Cup Champion Brady Ellison lost his first match of the day – and the event – to the Netherland’s Steve Wijler.

“It’s not like I shot bad. He just shot good,” said Ellison. “I got beat today. Recurve archery is a sprint now, and sometimes you lose it.”

The winners in Guatemala City will book the first tickets to this year’s Hyundai Archery World Cup Final. The deciding recurve matches will be broadcast live on Sunday afternoon, with international streaming in certain territories.

Final fours

Archers are listed in match order, with seed in brackets. The first two archers face each other in the first semifinal, the second two in the second semifinal.

Recurve men

Recurve women