Star archer Deepika Kumari failed to impress in the qualifying round in her much-anticipated return, finishing a lowly 37th behind Ankita Bhakat in the World Cup Stage 3 in Paris on Wednesday. The world number three Deepika, who was making her India comeback after the Tokyo Olympics debacle last year, shot a disappointing 638 in the 72-arrow qualification round, a massive 37-point behind Korean Lee Gahyun who took the pole position in the women’s recurve section. Her poor ranking meant that Deepika got a tough draw as the former world number one will have a potential second round clash against Korean Choi Misun, the 2016 Rio Olympics team gold medallist. Deepika will face Italian Chiara Rebagliati in her first round.
The three-time Olympian was a picture of inconsistency. Having started off with four 10s, including two X (closest the centre) and a 9, Deepika hit the black ring (4) and even misfired in the last arrow of the fifth end.
There was more frustration in store for her as she ended the first-half by shooting twice in the red ring (7-7). At the halfway mark, she managed just 323 points.
At the same time, she shot 18 perfect 10s at the halfway mark, which was just one behind Gahyun, something that summed up Deepika’s inconsistency on the day.
Under pressure, Deepika slipped further in the final set of 36 arrows, where she managed just 315 points, after hitting five 7s and one 6 to end her qualifying round. She had a share of 11 perfect 10s in the final-half.
At 31st place, Ankita (644) was the best among the Indian women as she made the mixed pair team with 27th placed Tarundeep Rai (670), with the duo taking the 13th ranking.
Pravin Jadhav, who too made a comeback after his Tokyo Olympics debacle, finished 30th with 668 points, while veteran Jayanta Talukdar (667) took the 32nd spot as the recurve men’s team secured the eight seeding in the draw.
The recurve women’s team, on the other hand, slipped to 13th place.
Earlier, the Indian women’s compound team lost the bronze play-off to France while the men’s team made a quarterfinal exit after losing to Turkey.
A day after World Championship silver medallist Jyothi Surekha Vennam raised the expectation with a second-place finish, the women’s trio of Jyothi, Priya Gurjar and Muskan Kirar lost 228-231 to Britain in the semifinal.
Fighting for the bronze, the team squandered a two-point lead to lose 231-233 to their French opponents Sophie Dodemont, Lola Grandjean and Sandra Herve.
Having got a bye into the quarterfinals, the third seeded Indian women’s team had started off by eliminating their Brazilian rivals 230-227.
The men’s team of Abhishek Verma, Mohan Bhardwaj and Aman Saini began with a 234-232 win over South Africa but suffered a one-point defeat against Turkey, going down 234-235.
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