Berlin, August 2
Army man Dhiraj Bommadevara led India’s charge with a strong second place finish in the rain-hit recurve men’s qualification round of the World Archery Championships here on Tuesday.
Dhiraj shot 683 points, five less than Korean double Olympic gold medallist Kim Woo-jin in the competition that will offer the first quota places for next year’s Paris Olympics.
Dhiraj’s teammates Tushar Shelke (650) and Mrinal Chauhan (640) were the next best Indians at a disappointing 55th and 83rd spot, taking the team ranking to ninth.
The 21-year-old, who missed out on a Tokyo Olympics berth by a whisker, will thus have an easy draw by virtue of his second seeding and will open campaign in the round of 32.
The top-three archers will secure quota places in both individual and team events.
“I am so happy, first of all,” said Dhiraj, who claimed individual bronze in the Archery World Cup opener in Antalya earlier this year.
“The conditions were so tough, in the first half it was so windy and for me it is so cold.”
“It started to rain and I am happy I managed to shot how I did. I only focused on the process. I am happy but not satisfied.”
Dhiraj was not the only archer to be tested by the elements, with wind picking up throughout the first session and leading to a congested leader board.
A torrential downpour followed in the second half, with higher ranked archers showing their class in rising to the top.
Indian women also had a below-par qualifying round, with Ankita Bhakat finishing 31st shooting 639, which was way below Mexican archer Alejandra Valencia who grabbed the topseed with 675 points.
Bhajan Kaur (45th, 627 points) and Simranjeet Kaur (51st, 625) were the next best Indians taking the team’s qualifying rank to a lowly 13th place.
Bhajan and Dhiraj got a mixed team seeding of fourth.
In the compound section, Ojas Deotale got the sixth seeding shooting 702 points, while Jyothi Surekha Vennam was second with a score of 701. Teenaged archer Aditi Swami bagged the sixth seeding, shooting 693 as the women’s team were seeded second.
Men’s team got the third seeding, while in the mixed team India grabbed the top-seed with Ojas set to pair up with Jyothi.
The tournament will offer the first 24 tickets to the Paris Games.
Nine of those will be awarded in the team competitions – to the three teams that climb the podium – and then three in the individual competitions.
Theoretically, the top three individual finishers should win quota places. But if a country that has already won a team quota finishes on the individual podium, then the place rolls down to the next nation that doesn’t already have a quota.
Countries can’t win more than three spaces overall, or more than one space in the individual event.
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