Calcutta: Deepika Kumari came tantalisingly close to winning the World Cup final before going down to Olympic double gold medallist Bo Bae Ki to settle for a silver in the recurve women’s individual event at Hibiya Park, in Tokyo, on Sunday.
Deepika, in her first appearance after the London Olympics debacle, was in splendid form as she won the quarter final and semi-final to lead 4-0 in the final before she lost 4-6 (26-23, 27-25, 24-28, 23-26, 25-26).
Down 0-4, the Korean bounced back winning the remaining three sets to grab the gold, thus capping a stunning year that saw her win the individual and team titles in London two month ago.
Having slipped to world No. 2 following her London setback, Deepika, who was given the top billing in the coveted meet, won the first two sets 26-23 and 27-25 to lead 4-0.
Ki came back strong in the third set with a 9-9-10, better than the 9-8-7 of Deepika in a rain-affected match. But Ki managed to bring the match on an even keel, winning the fourth set 8-10-8 to 8-8-7.
Deepika had a ray of hope in the fifth set with a 9 against Ki’s 8.
In the second set of arrows, both hit 9 as Deepika had a one-point advantage and needed a perfect 10 to settle the issue. But the teenager lost the battle of nerves hitting a 7 compared to Ki’s 9 to settle for a silver for two consecutive editions.
Earlier in the day, Deepika had beaten Miki Kanie of Japan 25-23, 26-26, 29-24, 27-24, overall 7-1, in another rain-marred quarter final battle.
In the semis too, the Ranchi girl was in her elements as she beat Jennifer Nichols of the US 6-2 (28-24, 25-26, 26-25, 28-27).
Dola Banerjee is the only Indian who has won a World Cup final in Dubai in 2007 where the field had only four archers.
Ahead of the tournament, the 18-year-old Jharkhand girl said that she had taken lessons from the Olympic debacle and looking ahead to finish the international calendar in the best possible manner.
“I have concentrated on my shooting and tried to keep myself in good shape. I tried to rectify the mistakes that may have crept into my technique,” Deepika said.
“I have learnt from what happened in London, and now know what is required in such major competitions,” she added.