An unheralded Dipti Kumari stunned World junior champion Komalika Bari to claim her maiden recurve women’s individual title in the 40 NTPC National archery championships at the Tata Archery Academy ground here on Saturday.
Dipti, who switched from Indian bow to recurve two years ago, beat her Jharkhand state-mate Komalika 7-3 in the final. After losing the first set, Dipti – who was successful in two shoot-offs on her way to the final – shared honours in the second and won the next three (29-28, 29-28, 27-25). Komalika, also competing in her first Nationals final, crumbled under pressure.
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“I aimed to give my best and shoot with determination,” said 19-year-old Dipti, a product of the Birsa Munda Archery Centre, Johna, near Ranchi.
A World junior gold medallist in men’s team and mixed team events, Maharashtra archer Parth Salunkhe defeated a more experienced rival, Sukhchain Singh of Services, 7-3 for his first National gold medal in men’s individual event.
Salunkhe took a 2-0 lead, but Sukhchain fought back to make it 2-2. The match was evenly poised at 3-3 after the two split points. Salunkhe, who will turn 18 years next month, raised the bar to win the next two sets (30-29, 28-26) and seal the issue.
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Some top archers, including Deepika Kumari, Aknita Bhakat, Atanu Das, Pravin Jadhav and Jayanta Talukdar, exited earlier than expected. Jharkhand, comprising Komalika and Talukdar, won the mixed team gold.