Kumari leads India to two team golds with individual still possible

Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari celebrate winning mixed team gold at the third stage of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Paris.

India grabbed a pair of gold medals in the recurve team events on Sunday morning in Paris, placing first in the women’s team and mixed team events at the third stage of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup.

Germany beat Belgium in the recurve men’s team final, 6-2.

Tokyo-bound Deepika Kumari factored heavily in both Indian victories, pairing with husband Atanu Das as the duo won their first mixed title together just three weeks ahead of the discipline’s debut at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, and anchoring a women’s team with Ankita Bhakat and Bari Komalika that beat Mexico.

“We are made for each other, I think. That’s why we are married,” Das said. “On the grounds, we are not a couple. We are competitors. We motivate each other, boost each other, support each other and win together. It’s amazing.”

The couple showed why they will be a team to be reckoned with in Tokyo by defeating Sjef Van Den Berg and Gaby Schloesser of the Netherlands, the winners of the previous leg of the international circuit in Lausanne, 5-3.

Kumari shot the last, decisive arrows, in both the mixed and women’s team line-ups.

“I prepared very well,” said Kumari, who is also in the hunt for a third – individual – gold medal this afternoon. “I’ll try my best for the upcoming match.”

India’s 5-1 defeat of top-seeded Mexico saw it clinch its second recurve women’s team gold medal of the season after Guatemala. The squad didn’t lose a set point to Aida RomanAna Vazquez and Alejandra Valencia, sharing the points in the first series before sweeping the rest of the match with a pair of 55s.

The result was a reversal of fortune for the two countries from earlier this week, as while Mexico won a full team quota to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the final qualifier last week, India lost unexpectedly to the lower-ranked Colombia in the second round. A second gold medal on the international circuit reaffirms their status among the world’s elite, even if they won’t be able to prove it in Japan next month.

Germany similarly rebounded from a disappointing result at the Olympic qualifier to win the recurve men’s team gold in Paris.

Moritz WieserFlorian Unruh and Maximilian Weckmueller beat surprise finalists Ben Adriaensen, Jarno De Smedt and Senna Roos from Belgium for their second straight gold medal on the international circuit.  

Seeded 22nd after qualification, Belgium won three tiebreaks against Great Britain, the United States and Malaysia to reach the gold medal match, and they were positioned to seize the podium after taking the first end to take a two-point victory. But Germany stood strong, winning three consecutive sets and gold.

“It’s a great feeling. I’m happy for the whole team,” Weckmueller said. “This year has been an absolutely perfect – well, nearly perfect – season.”

Competition continues in Paris with the recurve final fours on Sunday afternoon.