A nervous wait, but Vennam takes continental gold again

Jyothi Surekha Vennam shoots during the 2021 Asian Championships in Dhaka.

Jyothi Surekha Vennam ensured there would be no Korean clean sweep of the gold medals at the 22nd Asian Archery Championships when she won the compound women’s final on the penultimate day of competition in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The Indian archer defeated Korea’s Oh Yoohyun by one point, 146-145, in a dramatic finale which had initially been scored equal by the spotters – and seemed headed for a shoot-off.

But down at the target, a magnifying glass was brought out by the scoring judge to check Oh’s second arrow of the fifth and final end.

After two minutes of close examination, Vennam was declared the winner when the arrow was downgraded from a 10 to a 9, but a further four minutes then passed as the Korean agent queried the score.

Eventually – a nail-biting six minutes after the last arrow of the match – Vennam bumped fists with Oh signalling that the 25-year-old had won, extending her run of golds in the continental competition to four successive editions and repeating the individual title she won back in 2015.

She also won team gold four years ago and the mixed team title in 2019.

It also ensured she ended 2021 with a title, after finishing with an impressive three silvers at the 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships in September.

“I’m super happy today,” said Vennam in the mixed zone after the match. “I was waiting for the judge’s call [and knew] whatever the judge decides it will be the final one… maybe it will be a tie or it will be a win.”

“It was really important becoming champion after [finishing second at] the world championships because you need to show that you're consistent in your shooting and in your performance,” added Jyothi.

Consistency is something that Korea knows all about, winning the remaining four gold medals on offer on Thursday.

The first came in the compound women’s team event – also featuring individual runner-up Oh – where Korea saw off Iran, 235-229; then it was the compound men’s team event, where Korea took a one-point victory over Kazahkstan after only dropping four; and in the last match of the morning session, Vennam’s India fell just short, 155-154.

Kim Jongho, the runner-up at the Asian Championships four years ago when he lost the final to India’s Abhishek Verma here in Dhaka, then took revenge on the very same man, 149-148.

“Beating the best of Asia is a big deal,” said Jongho, who then added he would “take the result forward and keep working” when asked about his chances at next year’s Asian Games, which will be the first to include a full 10-medal archery tournament.

Competition at the 2021 Asian Archery Championships concludes on Friday 18 November with the recurve finals.

All the action can be watched live and free on World Archery’s YouTube channel.

Individual podiums