Indian archers announce arrival on world stage

Archery in CWGLatest common Wealth News: In an unprecedented success, the Indian compound archers on Thursday announced their arrival on the big stage, claiming a silver and a bronze in the men's and women's team events respectively in the 19th Commonwealth Games at Yamuna Sports Complex here on Thursday.

Shedding their tag as 'under-achievers', the men's trio of Jignas Chittibomma, Chinna Raju and Ritul Chatterjee claimed their first ever medal at any international level when they lost to the Englishmen 229-231 to settle for the silver.

The women's trio of Bheigyabati Chanu, Jhano Hansdah and Gagandeep Kaur beat 223-219 in the bronze play-off as the Archery Association of India (AAI) secretary general Paresh Nath Mukherjee said the medals had come as a "bonus".

"We never expected to get anything in compound section, as our main strength has been in the recurve section. But our effort and the archers' hardwork has paid fruits," Mukherjee said.

It was the youngest member of the side, 16-year-old Jignas who made all the difference for the Indians in pulling off a stunning 226-224 win over the South Africans in the semi-finals.

In all-praise of the Andhra archer, who trains at the Army Sports Institute at Ghorpuri in Pune, India compound coach Harendra Singh said "All credit goes to Jignas. He instilled the confidence in the Indians shooting in 79s and 80s.

"But the Englishmen opened up a five-point lead which was difficult to match. We covered up but only by three points. Neverthless, this silver medal, first time in the history of compound archers, will give them a new found confidence.

"Now we will also be recognised alongside our big brothers (the recurve archers)," Singh said.

In the final, the trio notched their best ever score of 229 but the mighty Englishmen trio of Duncan Edward Craig Busby, Liam Grimwood and Christopher White were too good to win the gold by a slender three points.

South Africa beat Australia 234-232 in the men's compound bronze playoff.

Earlier, the women's team, who had earlier seen success at international level bagging World Cup silver and bronze medals at various stages, also dished out an unexpected performance with a fine show by Jhano Hansdah to earn India the first archery medal in Commonwealth Games.

The bronze by the women's compound was India's first ever in Games archery which made a return after making a debut in the Brisbane edition in 1982.

In the bronze playoff, it was an exciting affair till the last three arrows were to be shot.

Indians were 195 with three rounds while Malaysia finished at 219.

When the last arrow was to be shot by Hansdah, India needed five points and she shot eight to give India its first medal of the competition.

Hansdah said that they had lost all hopes after the disappointing elimination in the individual rounds.

"Lekin haar ke hi log sikhte hain (Win comes only after realising a loss). We all were determined after the loss in the individuals. We had a great day yesterday when we notched our best ever 227."

The action now will shift to India's gold medal hopes when the recurve teams fight it out in the men's and women's sections tomorrow.

Women's trio of Nicky Hunt, Nichola Simpson and Danielle Brown shot 232, just one point off the world record to win England the second gold.

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