At the recent Asian Archery Championships in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a total of 10 gold medals were at stake in the recurve and compound events. The Korean contingent was present for the event. So naturally you would expect them to dominate even if the Olympians weren’t participating. And indeed, they did. In total, nine of the 10 gold medals offered went to Korea.
The only non-Korean gold medalist was Jyothi Surekha Vennam of India in the women’s individual compound final.
Of course, Korean archers don’t quite dominate the compound events like they do in recurve. (In Dhaka, all of the individual recurve semi-finals were all Korean.) So, let’s go back a few weeks to the World Archery Championships in Yankton. Only two compound archers finished on the podium in the three possible events (individual, team, mixed team). One of them was Colombian Sara Lopez, considered by many to be the best ever in the sport. She finished with gold medals in all three events.
The other was Indian Jyothi Surekha Vennam, finishing second behind the legendary Lopez in all three events to win three silver medals.
Quite simply, Vennam was on fire during the two main events to close the 2021 archery season.
Medals for Jyothi Surekha Vennam in 2021:
Asian Championships, Dhaka: individual gold, mixed team silver
World Championships, Yankton: individual silver, mixed team silver, women’s team silver
Indeed, the 25-year-old thinks it’s the best year she’s had on the international circuit. And notice that it’s been around for a while now. Having made her international debut in 2011, she completed a decade in the sport as one of the top archers in her field.
“I think it’s been a great year, based on the performances and medals won,” Vennam told Scroll.in in a phone interview. “Regardless of the metric, it’s been great overall. Yeah, I think it’s the best year on tour. You know, winning three silver medals at the World Championships is really a huge thing. So yeah I would say this is my best.
The medals alone are enough proof of Vennam’s performance, but the underlying numbers back it up as well. His 2021 average drop was 9.66, the best of his career and a solid improvement from his overall average of 9.49. In simpler terms, extending his career average on 15 arrows (as counted over five ends in an elimination match) his score would be 142.35, but his 2021 average puts a stretched total at 144.90. .
Jyothi Surekha Vennam over the years
|YEAR||MEDIUM ARROW||BEST QUALIFICATION|
And the high average was certainly helped by Yankton’s incredible performances at the World Championships recently. She became the first compound woman to score a perfect 150 in a televised arena, according to World Archery. He arrived in the quarterfinals of the individual event and Lopez quickly went to repeat the feat shortly after. But Vennam produced an unforgettable moment on his sport’s biggest stage.
“I didn’t actually know it hadn’t been done before, but later when I saw all the posts and videos posted by World Archery, that’s when I found out. I was just focusing on shooting well and doing my best with every arrow … whatever the outcome, I just wanted to win the game and move on to the next round, ”said Vennam.
It’s not even a very common thing in training, but this has been the year she has had.
“It’s not something that happens regularly, but this has been a great year. I shot 150 times. Once at the World Championship Trials, once at the World Championships, and later at the Nationals. was amazing, ”added the three-time World Championship silver medalist.
Back in Dhaka for the Asian Championships, Vennam had to go through not one but Korean archers to win gold. Seeded Kim Yunhee was beaten in the semifinals and final against Oh Yoohyun, it was the most spectacular final. It took a long time for the refs to check the Korean’s last arrow … if it was a 9 Vennam had won and if it was considered a 10 there would be a shootout. The decision was in Vennam’s favor and she became the individual Asian champion for the second time in her career, stopping a clean sweep from the Koreans.
“Ah well… I didn’t really think about being the only non-Korean or anything. The focus was only on how I shoot, how well I can perform. The result is not our hands, right? What I can do is just do my best. Yes, everything is exciting when finished … the competition in Asia is tough. Facing Korea is always difficult, it was quite exciting, ”she said.
And you could say that in this simplicity of approach lies the secret of its success this year. A sport like archery is a sport with fine margins … a few millimeters here or there can be the difference between winning and losing. The mental pressure can become immense.
“Pressure is something that depends on the individual … if you let it in, it becomes a huge burden on yourself. I don’t know if I’ve always been like that … sometimes it takes you. and you can’t control it 100%. You can’t let situations like this drain you, “Vennam said.
And for the future, too, she doesn’t care about setting big goals.
“The last international event in 2021 was the Asian Championships and the next (international) season starts in April with the World Cups, Asian Games, World Games all lined up until September. It’s going to be interesting, exciting. I haven’t set any goals for what’s next and everything, I just want to do everything step by step, make every tournament count. It’s not just about pressuring myself with targets, I like taking step after step, ”said Vennam, who switched from swimming to compound archery when she was. child thanks to the decision of his parents.
And every time Vennam succeeds on the international circuit, one can’t help but wonder what Indian archery’s medal tally would look like at the Olympics if compound archery was one of them. Of course, historically recurve archery has been the only form of sport included in the Summer Olympics. Compound archery is a newer version of the sport and although it has been part of the World Cup and World Championship circuit for some time now, the wait continues for it to do so. part of the global extravagance that every athlete dreams of being a part of. .
“This is something that is not in our hands,” Vennam said. “There’s nothing you can do about it, I just focus on what I can do. They tried to compete in the Olympics, but for some reason it didn’t happen. We are all waiting for the day when the compound event will. I would like to see it happen, yes. We just have to wait and watch.