Bhakat to debut World Cup final four in Antalya as Lim eliminated

Ankita Bhakat shooting.

Ankita Bhakat defeated Jeon Hunyoung, ending all hopes of a Korean recurve women's finalist in the Hyundai World Cup third stage in Antalya, Türkiye. 

A low score in qualifications, seeding 45th, didn’t matter for Bhakat as she accepted the challenge of the hard draw in style beating Yecheon silver medallist Jeon 6-4, who never shot higher than 27 in each end of the quarterfinal, and Shanghai 2024 bronze medallist Li Jiaman in a second round shoot off. 

Sunday will be Indian archer Bhakat’s debut individual final four in the Hyundai World Cup having been on the international circuit since 2017.

The Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games bronze medallist couldn’t hide her excitement after discovering the result. “It's great. I am very happy… I felt a little scared, a little nervous, but I did a very bold shoot.”

Bhakat is unknown to the atmosphere of Hyundai World Cup arena finals but is hoping her success in other competitions comes through.

“I have been scared of crowds, but I’ve been very confident in 2024.”

It turned out to be a horrific time for the entire Korean recurve women team as Nam Suhyeon also lost to semifinalist Alejandra Valencia who earlier in the day qualified for the recurve mixed team bronze medal match. 

Even more shockingly was the elimination of Korea’s talisman Lim Sihyeon. The Yecheon and Shanghai gold medallist got caught off guard by the exceptional shooting of Malaysia’s Ariana Nur Dania Mohamad Zairi, losing 6-0 in a major upset.

Kim Woojin is now literally Korea’s last man standing in recurve individuals as Kim Je Deok and Lee Wooseok failed to join him in the finals.

The 2023 Asian champion seeded second in qualifications but had to go through the Tokyo 2020 gold medallist Mete Gazoz before beating Canada’s Eric Peters in the quarterfinals. 

“Although Mete has really good skills and up to now, he’s been a really good archer, but I didn’t want to pay too much attention to the competitor, I wanted to focus on my game and do my thing,” said Kim on whether the saw the match as a rehearsal for Paris 2024.

He will face Dhiraj Bommadevara on Sunday. Bommadevara also qualified India for the mixed team final along with 18 year old Bhajan Kaur and feels the training he has competed recently is finally paying its dividends.

“Yes, it feels great that we are getting the fruits of the hard work and achievements that we have put in. “This tells us that we are on the right track for the upcoming tournaments, and this is the thing that we will keep working on until the end.”

After setting her personal best in Wednesday's qualifications, Yang Xiaolei had to endure three shoot offs before eventually reaching her maiden World Cup final four.

Caroline Lopez, Deepika Kumari and Anastasia Pavlova all fell victim to the Chinese archer’s sharp shooting at the Centennial Archery Field which has helped her nation’s women’s team win gold in Shanghai and Yecheon, the previous World Cup two stages of 2024.

“Today was very hot but the coaches and my teammates gave me a lot of encouragement. That is why I can win the competition,” Yang replied when asked why Antalya is hers to lose.

Waka Sonoda of Japan will also feature in Sunday’s semifinals against Valencia before a mouthwatering clash in the recurve men’s individual between world number one Marcus D’Almeida and Olympic silver medallist Mauro Nespoli

As ever in Hyundai World Cup stages, the compound medal matches take place first tomorrow with recurve to follow on Sunday. You can watch livestreams of both on archery+.