In a landmark achievement, Abhishek Verma bagged India’s first ever World Cup final medal at the ongoing Archery World Cup in the compound section.
The 26-year-old Verma, an Asian Games individual silver medallist, capped an impressive campaign when he dealt a perfect 150 on giant killer Mario Cardoso in the semifinals but only to go down 143-145 in the gold medal match against Elmaagcli to settle for a silver.
Deepika Kumari, a three-time World Cup Final silver medalist (2011-13) will play against Korean third seed Kawanaka Kaori in the quarterfinals who is also expected to perform well in the showpiece event.
The Mexican Cardoso had, in the quarterfinals, upset the top seed Mike Schloesser but the Wroclaw World Cup champion Verma was supremely strong in the semifinals as he had five perfect ends to cap the maximum, including six shots closest to the centre en route to a 150-142 win.
Buyoed by his record win in the semifinals, Verma started with a 10 and a solid 29 for his first end to take a point lead in the gold medal match. The lead changed hands after each of the following four ends.
A wild eight in the second set from Verma allowed Elmaagcli to take the upper hand at 57-56, before the Indian rallied to shoot a perfect 30.
The single-point advantage swapped back to the Indian with the score at 86-85 after nine arrows and it was at that point in the match when the Turkish pulled away. With two consecutive perfect ends of 30 out of 30 points, the Turkish first won back the lead, then put the gold medal out of Verma’s reach to win his country its first ever Archery World Cup title.
“You never know when perfect score is going to happen. Sometimes you just have a good feeling and this is what happened to me. It’s been a great experience,” Verma said.Earlier, fifth seeded Verma had defeated fourth seeded Martin Damsbo of Denmark 148-146 in the quarterfinals.