The competition will serve as a warm-up event to the Archery World Cup Final.
In the previous edition in 2019, India had managed to win a total of three medals. The tournament will serve as a test event for the Archery World Cup Final, which will take place later this month at the same venue. However, at the World Archery Championships, the country’s biggest names will not be In action. None of the Tokyo Olympians, including Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das, will take part in this tournament.
A new-look Indian contingent consisting of 12 archers will compete for the honours. A total of 10 events will take place across both recurve and compound archery. They are men’s individual, women’s individual, men’s team, women’s team and mixed team.
Let’s take a look at the top five archers that will represent India at the 2021 World Archery Championships:
5. Priya Gurjar
Priya Gurjar is the newest sensation in compound archery. The 17-year-old from Jaipur was part of the Indian teams, women’s and mixed, that broke world records in the cadet category at the World Archery Youth Championships. Gurjar won gold medals in the women’s and mixed team competitions along with an individual silver medal.
In doing so, she became the first Indian archer to win three medals in the U-18 cadet category. Gurjar also came close to breaking the individual record. She shot 696 to top the qualifying mark, only three points adrift of the world record. Now, Priya Gurjar is all set to prove her mettle on the senior international stage, starting with the World Archery Championships.
4. Ankita Bhakat
A member of the senior national recurve team, Ankita Bhakat has taken giant leaps in recent years. The trio of Deepika Kumari, Komalika Bari and Bhakat has already clinched two gold medals in the Archery World Cup this season. The first of these came in Guatemala City, followed by another one in Paris. She has also won a mixed team bronze medal with Atanu Das this season.
At 23, Bhakat is already an established member of the national setup. Ever since winning a gold medal at the World Archery Youth Championships in 2017, she hasn’t had to look back. The girl from Kolkata was scheduled to take part in the 2015 Youth Championships in Yankton. However, a week prior to the event, the Indian team was denied visas to enter the US. Six years later, she is finally at the same venue and will hope to make it a memorable tournament.
3. Jyothi Surekha Vennam
In a relatively young Indian squad, Jyothi Surekha Vennam is one of the most experienced campaigners. She is the only Indian compound archer to bag an individual medal at the previous edition in 2019. Add to that a silver medal from the 2017 edition and you have a proven performer at the World Archery Championships.
The three-time gold medalist at the Asian Archery Championships and the 2017 Arjuna Award winner has plenty of experience to bank on. This time around, the 25-year-old from Vijayawada will once again hope to put up a strong challenge and add another medal to her collection.
2. Komalika Bari
Still reeling from the disappointment of missing out on a ticket for the Tokyo Olympics, Komalika Bari delivered a scintillating performance at the World Archery Youth Championships last month. Bari was part of the team, including Deepika Kumari and Ankita Bhakat, which lost to Colombia and failed to qualify for the Olympics.
However, the 19-year-old put that disappointment behind her. She became just the second Indian archer after Deepika Kumari to win both the cadet and junior world titles in recurve archery. Already primed for bigger things, this will be another opportunity for her to shine.
1. Abhishek Verma
Abhishek Verma is the face of Indian compound archery. He stunned American heavyweight Kris Schaff in a shoot-off to bag a gold medal at the Archery World Cup, held in Paris in June this year.
In a neck-and-neck final clash, the duo dropped just two points each to be locked at 148-all after the regulation five ends. The World No. 5 Schaff started the shoot-off with a nine. Verma, showing nerves of steel, clinched the contest in style with a perfect 10. It was the 32-year-old’s second individual World Cup gold medal. He had last won an individual medal at the 2015 World Cup in Wroclaw.
With compound archery yet to be a part of the Olympic Games, every opportunity is priceless for Abhishek Verma. He is in good touch right now and will be aiming to bag a maiden individual World Championships medal in Yankton.