Jawkar upsets Schloesser, Lei triumphs in dramatic Taipei finals

Jawkar in Taipei

Tai Yu-Hsuan, Lei Chien-Ying, Parneet Kaur and Prathamesh Jawkar took the senior titles at the Taipei Open in the NTSU Arena today, with the latter bringing Mike Schloesser’s perfect competition run to an (incomplete end) end.

India’s compound prowess has been on display all year but Jakwar’s one-point victory in the final, 149-148, was still remarkable at, astonishingly, his first-ever international indoor event.

“It feels so good, and it’s so special for me,” said Jawkar afterwards. “Mikey is the guy I have looked up to for all these years.”

The compound men’s final between Jawkar and Schloesser was easily the most anticipated match of the day, especially after Mike's extraordinary flawless run to get there. Would the Dutchman shoot clean to win – and make another piece of unbeatable history?

Perhaps the pressure of the occasion upset his rhythm. Neither of Schloesser’s first two arrows were strong. The first was a line call that was upgraded to a 10 after the judge at the target decided it was touching the line of the middle ring, but the second was a clear nine.

Jawkar shot the first end clean, and the wind had left Mike’s sails.

“He is a great player, [but] seeing that his first arrow was not very good really made me relax a little bit,” said Jawkar.

Schloesser sent down another nine in the third end, while Jawkar didn’t put a blemish on his scoresheet until the fifth when a weak opening shot landed low, his only dropped point of the match.

“I have the hunger to win most of the tournaments, that’s what keeps me going,” said Jawkar. “It’s important to be able to handle the pressure because there’s always going to be pressure. But the most important lesson I’ve learned in this competition is that I should only focus on my game, to play my best.”

Women's recurve final Taipei 2023

Jawkar’s win secured a second title for the visiting Indian compounds after Parneet Kaur beat teammate Jyothi Surekha Vennam, 146-145, in the women’s final, in a match between the top two seeds (and a rematch of the recent Asian Archery Championships in Bangkok).

Neither seemed especially dominant in the Taipei finals arena.

Kaur was a point behind going into the fifth end before Vennam let two nines slip to hand Kaur the victory (mirroring the result from Thailand), 146-145.

“I am happy with today’s performance,” said Kaur. “I had a little issue with aiming but I managed it well.”

India had two other podiums in the championship categories (senior and under-21) in Taipei: Aman Saini’s compound men’s third place and three in the youth competitions, including wins Sachin Chaudhary (compound under-21 men) and Bhajan Kaur (recurve under-21 women).

The rest of the medals went to local archers, with the headline being former world champion Lei Chien-Ying’s return to the top of the results list.

At 33 years of age but shooting in her first international indoor event, Lei staved off stiff contest from 21st seed Su Hsin-Yu, finding a 10 when she needed it at the end of the fourth set that would prove decisive. Both went clean in the last, but that gave Lei the set points she needed to win, 6-4.

Experience, it seemed, won the match.

I’m just lucky. So I feel very happy to get this gold medal,” Lei played down the result.

Tai Yu-Hsuan edged out Olympic team silver medallist Tang Chih-Chun to the recurve men’s title, shooting three perfect sets in a 6-4 win.

The Indoor Archery World Series continues after the new year break, with a 500-level event in Nimes in January followed by the last (1000-pointer) leg and Indoor Archery World Series Finals in Las Vegas in February.

Winners: Taipei Open