Indian couple Das, Kumari win World Cup stage in Guatemala City
“It feels amazing. It’s like dreams are coming true,” said Das, who secured the first international gold of his career. “I’ve worked so hard for so many years, and now this is paying off.”
This was Kumari’s third-career stage victory.
“It’s been a long time since I shot in the finals,” she said. “It feels great and, at the same time, I’m happy and nervous. It gives me confidence and pushes me to give better performances.”
Both Indian archers are now automatically qualified for this season’s Hyundai Archery World Cup Final.
“She knows what I like, and I know what she likes,” Das said after their wedding in June 2020. “We travel together, train together, compete together and win together.”
Never has that been more true than in Guatemala City.
Kumari entered the final four as the third qualifier but the highest seed remaining in the recurve women’s event.
In the semifinals, she defeated Mexico’s Alejandra Valencia, avenging the earlier phase loss of teammate Ankita Bhakat in the process. Meanwhile, Mackenzie Brown beat surprise finalist Madalina Amaistroaie of Romania in a shoot-off. The final went to a tiebreak, too.
World number six Deepika was 3-1 up after two sets but saw that lead vanish after Brown evened the match with a 29 in the third and a 28 in the fourth. The two-time Olympian, however, held her ground in the fifth, shooting a 29 and displaying the kind of resilience she’s oft been accused of lacking.
“The most difficult part was the heart-beating sound, which made me really nervous,” Kumari said, mimicking a heartbeat for emphasis.
Kumari shot first and shot a nine, about one centimetre out of the 10-ring to the right. Brown’s arrow went left – and further out in the nine than Deepika’s.
That single arrow added a second gold on the day in Guatemala City – to complement the recurve women’s team gold India won over Mexico – and qualifies the Indian superstar to her eighth career Hyundai Archery World Cup Final.
Atanu was arguably even more impressive in the arena.
He had one wild set of 26 points in his semifinal against Mexican archer Angel Alvarado, who won mixed team gold on Sunday morning, but he otherwise shot sets of 28, 29 and a closing excellent 30 points in a four-set victory.
Trailing after three sets in the final against Spain’s Daniel Castro, in the latter’s international circuit debut, Das flicked a switch.
He closed with a 29 and a 30 – shooting his last 10 before his opponent had finished, putting the match out of reach. Atanu’s happiness was impossible to keep inside. He punched the air.
“It’s beautiful. It’s a big boost for me,” Das said. “The Olympics are this year, and I’m working in the right way.”
Mexican duo Alvarado and Valencia won bronze medals in the men’s and women’s events, respectively.
The recurve finals brought the opening stage of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Guatemala City to a close. The international circuit returns in three weeks for its second stage in the Olympic Capital of Lausanne, Switzerland.