Young Tarundeep Rai won India their maiden individual silver medal in archery at the Asian Games on Wednesday despite losing 3-7 to South Korea’s Kim Woo-jin in the recurve final at the Aoti Sports Complex.This was indeed a big effort from Rai as the depth in the field was top-class. On a dramatic and tiring day for Rai, sustaining the intensity was not easy. He started the day by crushing Vietnam’s Trong Kien Dao 5-1. The bespectacled lad won the first and third sets and tied the second on his way to victory.After a short gap, in the pre-quarterfinals, Rai beat Malaysia’s Cheng Chu Sian 6-2.He then came up with a major upset defeating fancied Korean Oh Jinhyek 6-4 in the last eight. Rai lost the first set 26- 27 but won the second 30-26 to draw parity. The third set was tied 28-28 and he won the next 29-27 and then tied the fifth 28- 28.”This was a big win,” said Paresh Mukherjee, secretary general of the Archery Association of India. “The Koreans are very strong and, for Tarundeep, this was a morale-boosting win.”In the semi-finals, Rai made short work of Chinese Taipei’s Sung Chia Chun 7-3. He won three sets (six points) and tied one (one point) and lost one. The first set was tied at 29- 29 and Sung won the next 30-26. But the Indian staged a great fightback, winning the next three sets (30-27, 28-26, 29-28) to make it into the historic final.advertisementThe final was indeed a big match where mental toughness and consistency were key factors. Rai could not reproduce the form he had shown in earlier matches. Pitted against top Korean Kim Woo-jin, he tied the first set 28-28 but lost the next 27-28.The Indian fought back to win the third set 29-28 but the Korean snuffed out the Indian challenge, winning the next two sets 28-27 and 29-27, with an eight point shot by the Indian towards the end being decisive.”This is the best showing by the Indian archers in the Asian Games,” said former world number one Dola Banerjee. “We are going back home with three medals – a silver and two bronze. In the last edition of the Games at Doha we had won only one bronze medal.”Dola also feels the showing by India in Guangzhou will count in the future. “These are the kind of results we need for the development of the sport in future,” said Dola.Speaking about his silver medal, Rai said: “I am happy with my result but not the medal. I could have won gold today,” said the archer.For his part, Kim was very happy. “I did very well today and it was wonderful. At the last shot, I only focused on the yellow zone. I think victory will finally favour me as long as I work hard. My parents came to my mind when I shot the last arrow. I will now spare no efforts in preparing for the 2012 London Olympics,” he said.Much was expected from the Commonwealth Games gold medallist Rahul Banerjee but he crashed out in the prequarterfinals without putting up a fight. The Indian went down 0-6 to Chinese Taipei’s Sung Chia Chun.
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