Asian Games archery: Tarundeep wins silver

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

GUANGZHOU - Armyman Tarundeep Rai won the lone silver in the men’s individual recurve event as India finished their archery campaign at the 16th Asian Games with a silver and two bronze medals, their best ever performance in the multi-discipline extravaganza.

Rai, who was named in the original squad for the Games, but got dropped from the team event in favour of Mangal Singh Champia, proved his worth by going all the way to the final. Rai had the chance to win a gold but failed to seize the opening in the fourth set of the final against Kim Woo Jin of South Korea, and ultimately lost.

Taking on Kim, who was in irresistible form right through the event, Rai started off decently, holding him to a tie in the first set at 28-28 to split points.

Rai’s first chance to take the lead came in the next set but he allowed Kim to come right back into the game as the South Korean won the set at 28-27. Rai shot exceptionally well in the third set to win at 29-28 and tie the score 3-3.

In the fourth, Rai had all 9s for 27 but Kim had 10,9,9 for 28 to snatch the lead at 5-3. Rai cracked in the final set with an 8 followed by 10 and 9 (27). Kim hit 10, 9, 10 (29) to deny the Indian a historic gold medal.

Rai won 7-3 against Sung Chai Chun of Chinese Taipei in the semifinals, the set score being 29-29, 26-30,30-27, 28-26, 29-28.

More than the semifinal victory, Rai would remember the quarterfinal triumph for long as he inflicted one of the rare defeats on a South Korean. The second-seeded Oh Jin Hyek lost to the Indian 6-4 (26-27, 30-26, 28-28, 29-27, 28-28). This victory and Rais close battle against Kim should give him enough confidence whenever he faces a Korean in future.

Commonwealth Games champion Rahul Banerjee lived upto the billing of a better team performer than an individual competitor when he went down in the pre-quarterfinals to Sung Chai Chun 0-6. Banerjees fragile temperament has not helped him win many individual gold medals, the exception being the CWG and a couple of Asian GP golds.

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