Deepika Kumari wins Asia Cup on return to international duty

The recurve women’s podium at the Asia Cup.

Former world number one Deepika Kumari produced a four-set upset to beat teammate Simranjeet Kaur in the final of her first international event since becoming a mother as Indian archers swept the individual titles at the first leg of the 2024 Asia Cup in Baghdad, Iraq.

“It’s good but I expected this victory,” said Kumari, who lost the first set again Kaur (24-26) but finished with a strong pair of 29s to secure the win.

“The match was good but I really deserve this gold medal because I have been preparing hard. Now I’m happy it’s resulted in winning.”

Kumari had her first child at the end of 2022, missed out on the squad in 2023 but currently sits first in the selection process for the Indian team in 2024. The nation critically does not currently possess a women’s quota place for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games – and Kumari’s return is undoubtedly welcome.

The former world number one was joined on the top step of the podium by teammates Dhiraj Bommadevara, Parneet Kaur and Prathamesh Jawkar.

Bommadevara beat veteran international Tarundeep Rai in five sets in the recurve men’s final, closing with a perfect 30. The 22-year-old appears to have emerged as India’s top option since qualifying the nation an Olympic men’s quota place in Bangkok last November.

“I feel good,” he said after today’s win in Baghdad. “I’m comfortable and shooting precisely. I have no pressure.”

India won nine of the 10 events at this opening leg of the Asia Cup. But the country’s only loss was a particularly surprising one. India’s world and Asian Games Champion compound women’s team struggled early in the stadium – and fell to Iran in their final, 229-223.

Nevertheless, the near-clean-sweep was a dominant early debut in this important season.

Winners: Baghdad 2024

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