India’s Deepika Kumari completed a trifecta of gold medals on Sunday afternoon with her victory in the recurve women’s event at the third stage of the 2021 Hyundai Archery World Cup in Paris, France.
The world number three beat Russia’s Elena Osipova in straight sets to capture a third title alongside the women’s and mixed team titles she won earlier in the day.
“I’m happy, but at the same time I have to continue my performance like this,” Deepika said. “I want to improve that, because the upcoming tournament is very, very important to us. I’m trying my best to continue learning whatever I can.”
The upcoming tournament, of course, is the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which are less than a month away.
Deepika will represent India as the lone female archer in Japan, joining a full men’s team as they strive to win the country’s first archery medal at the world’s biggest sporting event.
Her performance on Sunday at the Charlety Stadium arena suggests that she will be a contender to medal in Japan.
Deepika beat Mexico’s Ana Vazquez in the semifinals, 6-2, in a rematch of the team final that saw India beat Mexico in the first match of the morning, and swept Osipova by hitting a dead-centre 10 to win her fourth-career individual gold on the international circuit.
Deepika secured an automatic bid to the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final with her first-place finish at stage one in Guatemala City at the beginning of the season. With her victory in Paris, a fourth points slot will open up for an archer to compete in the season finale in September.
USA archer Mackenzie Brown, who won bronze, will still make that event in Yankton on points despite finishing third. The soon-to-be-two-time Olympian held a, 5-1, lead over Osipova in their semifinal, but the Russian clawed back and won a tiebreak, along with the right to face Deepika in the final.
Deepika has won on the international circuit before, and she is expected to be named world number one when the new ranking list is released on Monday. But it’s a medal in Tokyo that she craves.
“It’s very important,” Deepika said. “Our country, in archery… it doesn’t have any Olympic medals. It’s very important to win Olympic medals, so it’s very important to me.”
Deepika 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.
Deepika shot the last, decisive arrows, in both the mixed and women’s team line-ups.
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 Roman, Ana 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 Wieser, Florian 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.