All three of India’s world champions have been in youth categories.
Seventeen-year-old Komalika Bari beat Japan’s Waka Sonoda in the recurve cadet women’s final at the 2019 World Archery Youth Championships in Madrid to win her first major event and become the third Indian archer to hold a world title.
“I’m feeling very nice because I won the world champs,” she said. “It’s also because of my coaches, they are very important.”
Bari is the second Indian archer to become world champion in the under-18 recurve women’s category. Deepika Kumari held the title in 2009 – and then won the junior (under 21) gold in 2011.
India has had one other world champion archer.
Palton Hansda won gold in the compound junior men’s event at the 2006 World Archery Youth Championships in Merida, Mexico.
Bari was impressive in her final next to Madrid’s Royal Palace.
She took a comfortable, 4-0, lead after the first two sets. Bari and Sonoda tied the third and the Indian archer moved within a single set point of victory.
Close to her maiden title, Bari loosened in the fourth and scored just 26. Her Japanese opponent did just enough to take the set. The score was 5-3.
“My shooting was falling apart. That resulted in the eight. But then I knew I had to come back and I won the gold medal,” said Komalika. “I was just breathing very deeply so the tension went away. I told myself, ‘be confident, be confident and you will be the champion’.”
She opened the fifth set with a 10, matching Waka’s first arrow.
Sonoda shot a nine next – and so did Bari. The Japanese 17-year-old closed with another nine. Bari only had to match it to tie the set and win the match but the Indian athlete finished with an emphatic 10.
“I’m really sad that I lost in the final,” said Waka. “I was confident I would be able to get the gold. But it didn’t happen. I didn’t have too much confidence when I got to the stage today. I think that’s why I lost.”
The silver is still Sonoda’s second medal after taking bronze as one half of Japan’s recurve cadet mixed team.
Jang Mi of Korea finished third in the recurve cadet women’s competition. She defeated Chinese Taipei’s Yang Ya-Jung in quick straight sets.
The 2019 World Archery Youth Championships takes place on 19-25 August in Madrid, Spain.
Source: World Archery