Kolkata: A gold medal in the prestigious World Cup final eluded Deepika Kumari once again as she settled for her third successive silver after being pipped by Korean Olympic champion Ok-Hee Yun, in Paris Sunday.
According to information received here, the 19-year-old started wonderfully with three perfect 10s and led 3-1 but a shocking time lapse in the third set enabled the Korean rally past the Indian for a 6-4 win in the showpiece annual fixture held after four stages of World Cup.
This was the 2008 Olympic champion's second gold in the World Cup Final after 2010, while for Deepika, it was her second loss to Yun as the Indian once again could not overcome the Korean jinx. In the final of the Shanghai World Cup in May, a judging error by the Ranchi girl had led to a shock loss while in Wroclaw stage last month the 2008 Olympic champion had won with flying colours.
After a superb first set, Deepika shot two 9s and one 10 to tie the second. Leading 3-1, Deepika had the gold medal on sight as she began with 10-9 in the third set but while coming for the third arrow she did not have enough time to shoot to draw a blank as the Korean levelled 3-3.
Shattered, Deepika shot a poor 8 to concede the fourth set as the Korean led 5-3. Yun needed a tie in the fifth set to deny Deepika her maiden World Cup Final gold and the Korean held her nerves to hold the Indian 29-29 to clinch her second yellow metal in the event.
Dola Banerjee is the only Indian to have won a gold in the showpiece event. This was Deepika's fourth successive World Cup Final appearance. After ranking fifth in 2010, Deepika clinched silver medals in both 2011 and 2012. Earlier Deepika ousted 2012 Olympic silver medalists from Mexico Alejandra Valencia and Aida Roman?in semifinals and quarters to storm into final.
Deepika shot a 9 closer to the centre to edge past the Mexican in the shoot-off to make the summit clash. In the pulsating semi-final, Deepika, down 0-4, made a stunning comeback and shot three perfect 10s to tie 5-5 and take the match to the shoot-off. In the semi-final, Alejandra got the better of Deepika in the first set with 27 points to 26. Deepika continued to struggle as two poor 8s and a 9 compared to Alejandra's 10-9-8 meant the Indian tralied 0-4 after the second set.
But Deepika was not ready to give up as she bounced back to shoot two perfect 10s en route to a win in the third set to make it 2-4. The fourth set ended up in a tie as Alejandra led 5-3. In a must-win fourth set, Deepika shot three perfect 10s make 5-5 before taking the match to the shootoff. In the quarters held in the morning session, the Ranchi girl ousted another Olympic silver medalist Aida who had finished second in the London Games team event.
The duo were locked 28-28 after the first set as Deepika started with a poor 8 before getting into the rhythm with two perfect 10s. In the second, Aida shot first but had two 9s, against only one to Deepika for a 3-1 lead. Aida shot the first arrow in the third set out of the gold ring to open the door for Deepika as the India shot two 9s en route to a 5-1 lead.
Deepika clinched the issue in the fourth set outscoring her opponent 28-26 to set up a battle with another Mexican Valencia in the last four. This year, the 19-year-old archer led India to back-to-back gold medals in Medellin and Wroclaw World Cup stages, bringing her personal tally to 17 in just four World Cup seasons.
Deepika had achieved her first World Cup victory in May 2012 to become World No 1. At 15, Deepika had become world cadet champion in 2009, and two years later, she became junior world champion.