Competing under a neutral flag - due to the current suspension of the national archery federation - the Indian duo were in terrific form as they not only clinched the third place in the mixed team event but also kept their hopes of an individual medal alive, making it to the fourth round at the Rajamangala National Stadium.
Up against the formidable pair of Wei Shaoxuan and Zheng Yichai in the third-place tie, the Indians started brightly to take the opening set 38-37. With two points awarded per set, that gave them a 2-0 lead.
However, the Chinese duo quickly drew parity by winning the second 39-37.
That set back though only served to spur Deepika and Atanu on, as they surged to the remaining two sets and victory by a 6-2 margin - Indian archers first medal at the Championships was sealed in style.
India’s compound mixed team of Abhishek Verma and Jyothi Vennam will be in for a gold medal when they face Chinese Taipei in the final on Wednesday. The Indian pair beat South Korea in the semi-finals 159-154 to book their place in the final.
Rai was in complete control of his match as he dished out a fine show to beat Japan’s Tomatsu Daisuke 6-2, while Das had no trouble in seeing off another Japanese Nakanishi Junya by an identical margin.
Talukdar, meanwhile, had to dig deep to rally from a four-point deficit to beat Bangladesh’s Tamimul Islam in a shoot-off. While the 20-year-old Bangladeshi started well to manage a 5-1 lead at the end of the third set, Talukdar produced a fine show in the fourth with two 10s and a nine to win the set 29-27 and crawl back into the tie.
Taking the next set 27-25, the Indian drew level on set points to push the match into a shoot-off. In the decider, while the 33-year-old Talukdar hit a 10, Islam could manage just a seven, handing his opponent the match and a place in the fourth round.
Meanwhile, Atul Verma had no such luck as he lost out to Wei Shaoxuan of China 2-6 in his third-round match.
Bombayla was no match for Japan’s Waka Sonoda as the 17-year-old breezed to a comfortable 7-1 win. Silver medallist at the 2019 World Archery Youth Championships early this year, Sonoda was in control of the match from the opening set as she barely let the Indian have any hold.
Meanwhile, Deepika and Bhakat were in control of their ties as they registered identical 6-4 wins over Kamola Yunusova of Uzbekistan and Japan’s Tomoka Ohashi in their third-round matches.
In the compound segment, India enjoyed a fruitful day as all but two of their archers made it further in the competition.
Among the men, while Rajat Chauhan beat Syahrizan Jafar of Malaysia 139-135, Abhishek Verma defeated Bangladesh’s Md Sohel Rana 145-140 and Mohan Bhardwaj got the better of another Bangladeshi archer Ashim Kumer Das 147-143. Kawalpreet Singh was the only Indian to bow out in the men’s section following his 139-140 loss to Paul Marton De La Cruz of the Philipines.
In the women’s section, Muskan Kirar beat Bangladesh’s Shamoli Ray 143-136 while Jyothi Vennam downed Sri Lanka’s Anuradha Karunaratne 141-134. Priya Gurjar was the only Indian to bow out in this section after her 137-139 loss to Diana Makarchuk of Kazakhstan.