India had an encouraging start to their archery campaign at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday as the mixed team duo of Deepika Kumari and Pravin Jadhav recorded a comeback win over Chinese Taipei to enter the quarterfinals.
Trailing 1-3 after they lost the first set 35-36 and split points with a 38-38 second set, India needed to win the third set to stay alive. Deepika and Jadhav, shooting together at international level for the first time, rose to the occasion, shooting four 10s. The Chinese Taipei duo of Lin Chia-En and Tang Chih-Chun could only shoot a combined 35 in response, levelling the match. The Indians started relatively poorly in the fourth set, with a 9 and an 8, but two 10s ensured they edged their opponents 37-36 to take the match 5-3.
“We desperately want to win an Olympic medal in archery and it just happened like that,” Deepika said afterwards.
Later on Saturday, the Indian duo will face the winners of top-seeded Korea and Bangladesh in the mixed pair section, which is making its Olympics debut at Tokyo.
“We need lots of confidence, it’s about putting all our experience and hard work together here. Just think as if it’s your last Olympics, your only chance.
“We tried our very best and we will try hard in the upcoming matches. We are determined to win a medal here,” Deepika said, as India chases its first ever Olympic medal in archery.
Following poor scores in the men’s ranking round on Friday, India were forced to break the combination of Atanu Das and Deepika, the first Indian couple to take part in the same discipline in an Olympic Games.
Das finished in 35th place, three points and four places behind Jadhav, as the Indian coaches preferred the Olympic debutant, breaking the mixed team pair that won the Paris World Cup last month and pairing Deepika with Jadhav for the first time in an international competition. Deepika was, in fact, against the decision.
“It (the decision) mattered, as I really wanted to play with him (Atanu), but it did not happen. Anyway I’ve to continue performing irrespective of the situation,” she said.
“I am a little sad that he is not with me in the mixed team. But we have to shoot, you have to win, so just go ahead,” Deepika added when asked about her husband Atanu.
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