We fought till the end, says archer Rajat Chauhan

The Indian men's compound team settled for a silver medal after losing the shootout to South Korea in the final.

Rajat Chauhan in action during India's compound team final against South Korea.   -  PTI

India’s men's compound team of Rajat Chauhan, Abhishek Verma and Aman Saini led for the majority of a tense final against South Korea on Tuesday. When Rajat took the final shot of the fourth set, the scoreboard looked encouraging, with the Indian archers leading their opponents 229-228.

However, the celebrations had to be put on hold. A revision of a Korean shot overturned one of their 9s into a 10, resulting in a tie. The formidable Koreans then walked away with the gold medal after hitting the bull’s eye in the shootout.

For Rajat, it was a bitter-sweet end to another fantastic Asian Games campaign.

“At first, it wasn't good (feeling) because it felt like the (gold) medal was in our grasp but then it wasn't,” Rajat told Sportstar from Jakarta. “We fought till the end but it wasn't meant to be. We didn't have any luck.”

Rajat, who has a gold medal from the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon, wants to leave the disappointment behind. “I have been playing this sport for nearly 10 years and this is my second Asiad medal. It's no mean feat. It was a big task in itself to earn your selection.”

Read: Asiad silver holds a special place, says archer Surekha

“After coming here it was a matter of maintaining your levels from the previous Games and reaching the final. My team-mates and I will take great pride in this effort. We weren't standing below the podium, we stood on it! We feel like we were rewarded for the hard work and the preparation we put in for this moment,” the 24-year-old added.

The Rajasthan-based archer was in fine form throughout the Games, often coming up with the crucial 10s for his side. Getting those 10s under pressure could be a nerve-wracking experience for many, but for Rajat it has become a habit.

“When I get those required 10s, it gives confidence to the team as well. I also train my mind accordingly and that's why I was able to shoot those 10s,” he said.

He reserved special praise for foreign coach Sergio Pagni, who also trained the silver-medal winning women’s compound team in the lead-up to the Games.

"We trained with Sergio for 15 days in the lead up to the Asian Games in Sonipat. He conditioned us to fight till the end and in today's final we did the same," Rajat said.

Archery is an expensive sport to pursue in India. For the last three years, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has supported Rajat to reach greater heights. “The funding from ONGC helped me to buy my arrows. I don't have other sponsor but they have been supportive throughout,” he said.

The young archer is hopeful of adding an Olympic medal to his kitty. However, unlike the recurve event, the compound event has never featured in the Olympics.

“There are talks that the 2024 Olympics will see the introduction of compound archery events. I, too, hope that and if it's the case it will be us who goes on to win the first medal,” he said.