Two shots at first world titles for teams from India and Mexico

Jyothi Surekha Vennam shoots at the 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships.

India and Mexico have collected countless medals on the international archery stage – but neither has ever won a world champion title.

The former nation has, in fact, climbed the most podiums at the event (eight) of any country to have never collected a gold, appearing in six finals and leaving with silver each time.

Both will have at least two shots to break the deadlock this week in Yankton.

India put its compound women’s and mixed teams into gold medal matches at these world championships, while Mexico will make appearances in the compound men’s and recurve women’s team finals.

Both of the Indian squads’ medal matches will be against Colombia.

Mexico takes on the USA in the compound men’s team title bout, while the recurve women will shoot against the favourites, Korea, in a rematch of the final from four years ago.

It’s an exciting line-up on team finals day, which takes place this Friday, at the 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships.

Korean has won recurve women’s team gold at 13 of the past 21 world championships.

Having just won gold at its ninth consecutive Olympics, this trio arrived in Yankton as the undisputed favourites – and proceeded to seed top and cruise through two matches.

A slow start in the semis against France had the Koreans down and very nearly out.

Both teams celebrated after the third set – but it was Korea who had survived, taking it by a point. An San, Jang Minhee and Kang Chae Young then won the fourth, too, sending the match to a tiebreak.

After each team posted 28 points in the shoot-off, it was the single 10 shot by Minhee, last in the rotation, that measured closer to the centre than either of France’s pair of maximums downrange.

It completed an unlikely comeback.

“Even though we were losing, we still believed we could win. We just keep going and do our duty. That’s why we win,” said the team hero.

When asked what the win meant, Kang gestured to Jang and simply said, “she is crying”.

An San recently said she was lucky to win three gold medals at the Olympics. Her team found a little more luck today to stay alive in these championships.

But luck might not be enough for Friday’s final – because Korea’s last opponent in Yankton has looked mightily impressive.

It would be fair to say that Aida Roman, Alejandra Valencia and Ana Vazquez underperformed at the Olympics, seeding second (behind Korea) but losing their first match to Germany.

Mexico seeded second to Korea here, too.

But through their three matches, the Mexican women have averaged 55 points a set, nearly a full point more than the Korean trio.

“We didn’t differentiate semifinal of quarterfinals or second round. In every match, we concentrated on our work and what we needed,” said Valencia. “It was about where we were and what we needed to do, step-by-step and in each set.”

Four years ago, on home soil in Mexico City, Aida and Alejandra took the first two points of the final before failing to capitalise. Could Yankton finally be the venue of their ascendance to the world title?

“The truth is that we want to remove that thorn of making the finals and always winning silver,” said London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Roman. “We want our gold, we want to shoot until the last arrow and we hope we can achieve it.”

The team competitions at the 2021 Hyundai World Archery Championships conclude with finals on Friday.

Team finals in Yankton

The bronze and gold medal matches all take place in live broadcast sessions on Friday 24 September.

  • Recurve men: Korea (1) versus USA (2)
  • Recurve women: Korea (1) versus Mexico (2)
  • Recurve mixed: Korea (1) versus RAF (6)
  • Compound men: USA (9) versus Mexico (15)
  • Compound women: Colombia (1) versus India (7)
  • Compound mixed: India (5) versus Colombia (2)