Komalika Bari, 17, won gold in the recurve cadet women’s final at the 2019 World Archery Youth Championships in Madrid. She went on to beat Japan’s Waka Sonoda to win her first major event. Following the win, Bari also became the third Indian archer to hold a world title, World Archery reported.

“I’m feeling very nice because I won the world champs,” an elated Bari said. “It’s also because of my coaches, they are very important.”

Key Takeaways:

  • 17-year-old gold medallist Komalika Bari became the recurve cadet world champion.
  • She helped India clinch second gold on the final day of the World Archery Youth Championships in Madrid.
  • Bari hails from Jharkhand and defeated higher-ranked Sonoda Waka of Japan on Sunday.
  • She is only the third Indian archer and second recurve cadet (under-18) world champion to hold a world title, archer Deepika Kumari being the first one who won the title in 2009.

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Bari took a few early impressive shots in her final. She claimed a comfortable, 4-0, lead after the first two sets. Bari and Sonoda tied the third and the Indian archer moved within a single set point of victory. Bari fought hard in the fourth and but failed to impress like her early shots and scored just 26. The Japanese took advantage of it and the score was 5-3. “My shooting was falling apart. That resulted in the eight. But then I knew I had to come back and I won the gold medal,” said Bari. “I was just breathing very deeply so the tension went away. I told myself, ‘be confident, be confident and you will be the champion’.” The fifth set was in Bari’s favour as she took the score to a 10, matching Sonoda’s first arrow. The Indian athlete finished with an impressive 10. “I’m really sad that I lost in the final,” said Sonoda. “I was confident I would be able to get the gold. But it didn’t happen. I didn’t have too much confidence when I got to the stage today. I think that’s why I lost.” Sonoda settled for silver, marking her second medal after taking bronze as one half of Japan’s recurve cadet mixed team.

All three of India’s world champions have been in youth categories

  • Bari is the second Indian archer to become world champion in the under-18 recurve women’s category. 
  • Before her, Deepika Kumari held the title in 2009 – and then won the junior (under 21) gold in 2011.
  • On the other hand, Palton Hansda won gold in the compound junior men’s event at the 2006 World Archery Youth Championships in Merida, Mexico.

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Career graph

Bari comes from a family in Jharkhand. She was inspired by her cousin brother to take up archery at the ISWP Sports Complex, Jamshedpur. She, then, started off her career by honing her skills under TAA coaches Dharmendra Tiwari and Purnima Mahato.

She was 15th after the ranking round, on Thursday, outclassed four opponents including number-two-seeded Yeom Hyejeong on her way to the recurve women junior’s final.

The teenager made her international debut at the South Asian championship earlier this year.

Valuable lessons

Ahead of the Olympics qualifiers, a confident Bari said, “I have gained a lot of confidence after coming to elite level and it has helped me,” Komalika told Sportstar from Madrid. “After coming to the TAA, I focused on my shooting. I learnt a lot working alongside the elite archers. I got to know how to maintain calmness, patience and how to handle different situations…Here, inputs from coaches Surinder Singh and Anil Kumar were useful.”

Bari is steadily taking up the position in the Indian side for elite events including World Cups in Turkey and Germany, the World championships in the Netherlands and the Olympic test event in Tokyo.

Thanking her parents for the support, she said, “My family put me into archery. My parents support me wholeheartedly.”

Feature Image Credit: G Rajaraman/Twitter

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