Indian youngsters with a chance to impress in the absence of star names

A new-look Indian international squad will take the field at the Archery World Championships that starts with the qualification rounds in Yankton, USA on Tuesday.

With the archers who were part of the Olympic contingent not clearing the trials that happened soon after their Tokyo campaign, India’s squad for the prestigious World Archery event will witness some of the medallists from the recent youth championships.

The four archers, who couldn’t win a medal at Tokyo, failed to finish inside top-three in the two-day trials conducted just a day after their return from the Olympics. World number one Deepika Kumari finished fourth in the trials.

Komalika Bari, 17-year-old upcoming Haryana girl Ridhi Phor, and Ankita Bhakat made the cut taking the top-three spots.

Komalika Bari has since clinched the Under-21 World Championship title in Wroclaw, Poland to add to the U-18 title she won in Madrid in 2019, becoming the second Indian woman to achieve that feat after Deepika Kumari.

Among men, Punjab’s Aditya Chaudhary, 19-year-old Parth Salunkhe of Maharashtra and 2014 Youth Olympic bronze medalist Atul Verma grabbed the top-three places, ahead of Tarundeep Rai (ninth), Atanu Das (17th) and Pravin Jadhav (20th) .

“It’s a very promising sign that the juniors are coming up in the senior team. They are the future, ”Dronacharya and Arjuna Awardee Sanjeeva Singh, who oversaw the trials at the SAI Sonepat in August, had told PTI then.

“The average age of the side is less than 20 years. It’s a very promising sign for the 2024 Olympics, ”the former Olympian added.

The trials for the September 19-26 Yankton World Championships had four rankings rounds from where top-six archers played round robin matchplay to determine the top-three.

Indian archers had yet another below-par outing at the Olympics as none of them could earn the elusive medal in the sport. The men’s team and mixed pair teams lost their respective quarter-final matches to Korea. Atanu Das was the best among the men’s trio, making the last-16 in the men’s individual competition, where he went down to home favorite Takaharu Furukawa, the eventual bronze medalist. But he could not make the most of a men’s draw that was blown wide open by a slew of upsets. Deepika Kumari lost out to eventual gold medalist An San in the quarters at Tokyo Olympics

But since, the youngsters lit up the World Archery Youth Championships in Wroclaw last month. Bari, Aditya Chaudhary, Parth Salunkhe are among the recurve archers who finished on the podium while Rishab Yadav and Priya Gurjar impressed in the compound categories.

The season-ending Archery World Cup Final (featuring the qualified archers from the other World Cup stages of the season) will follow the World Championships in Yankton immediately after. Atanu Das, Deepika Kumari and Abhishek Verma had booked their berths for that event through their gold medals in Guatemala and Paris.

Teams:

Recurve, men: Aditya Chaudhary (Punjab), Parth Salunkhe (Maharashtra) and Atul Verma (SSCB)

Recurve, women: Komalika Bari (Jharkhand), Ridhi (Haryana) and Ankita Bhakat (Jharkhand).

Compound, men: Abhishek Verma (Delhi), Sangam Singh Bisla (AAI) and Rishab Yadav (Haryana);

Compound women: Muskan Kirar (MP), Jyothi Surekha Vennam (PSPB) and Priya Gurjar (Rajasthan).

(With PTI inputs)

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