Jyothi, Ojas complete golden hat-trick - Hindustan Times

Jyothi, Ojas complete golden hat-trick

Oct 08, 2023 12:10 AM IST

India's compound archers won seven medals in Hangzhou, including all five gold medals on offer

Jyothi Surekha Vennam and Ojas Deotale entered this Asian Games with contrasting goals. While Vennam, competing in her third Asian Games, was searching for her first success at this stage, Deotale, in his first Asian Games, was looking to add weight to his world champion tag. On a cold and wet Saturday morning at the Fuyang Yinhu Sports Centre, the two compound archers met their goals in style, ending the Hangzhou Asiad with three gold apiece as India won all five compound gold medals on offer.

India's Jyothi Surekha Vennam competes against South Korea's So Chae-won in the archery compound women's individual gold medal match during the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou in China's eastern Zhejiang province(AFP)
India's Jyothi Surekha Vennam competes against South Korea's So Chae-won in the archery compound women's individual gold medal match during the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou in China's eastern Zhejiang province(AFP)

Veteran Abhishek Verma went down to Deotale in an all-India final to add a silver to India's tally while the 17-year-old world champion Aditi Swami bagged a bronze medal in the women's individual compound event. India thus ended their archery campaign with nine medals, seven of which came in the compound division.

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Vennam beat South Korea's Chaewon So 149-145 in the individual compound final to bag her third gold at Hangzhou. With wind conditions favourable after the last couple of tough days, Vennam shot with familiar calm and precision, missing the 10 only once in 15 shots to score 140 out of a possible 150. The Korean, barring a first perfect series, erred in every following sequence to finish with 145.

Reflecting on her long wait for Asiad success, Vennam said, "Waiting is always tough for everyone and it was the same for me. Now that the good times have come, I just want to live in this moment. We should not forget the past reflecting on it helps us attain greater highs."

The 27-year-old multiple Worlds medallist was also part of the gold medal-winning women’s and mixed teams earlier this week. The secret of her success besides the obvious hard work, she said, lay in positive thinking. In fact, Vennam began the year thinking that this would be her stage to shine.

"I started to think more positively. I began the year thinking that this would be my year. I decided to focus more on the positives in life," she said.

Meanwhile, Deotale capped his stunning maiden Asian Games by beating his mentor Abhishek Verma 149-147 in another display of sublime shooting. The reigning world champion had gone into the final calling it a "fun match", but never let his focus waver. Verma and Deotale shot a perfect first series of three shots each before the former hit a nine on the last shot of his next series. A nerveless Deotale took the opportunity to complete another perfect series and open a slender one-point lead.

He built on that advantage with another perfect series even as Verma hit an eight as the gap rose to three points. Verma bowed out with two perfect series while Deotale nailed 10s on all but one chance, missing out on yet another perfect 150 but taking the gold. Earlier this week, Deotale had shot 150 twice in back-to-back matches to create a Games record.

The 21-year-old had earlier partnered with Vennam for the compound mixed team gold and was also a part of the men’s team, alongside Abhishek Verma and Prathamesh Jawkar, who claimed gold.

"This was my first Asian Games and I have won gold medals in all three events. What more do I need? I feel like I am living in a dream," Deotale gushed after the win.

On competing against Verma for gold, he said, "I had told myself that this is going to be a friendly match between us. But there is still some pressure, no matter how many times we say it's a friendly match because there is a little pressure. It is a gold medal after all, but we knew that whatever happens, it will be for India."

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    Shantanu Srivastava is an experienced sports journalist who has worked across print and digital media. He covers cricket and Olympic sports.

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