Indonesia 2018: Archery champions shot down

World’s best Nemati and Zhao beaten at Asian Para Games 10 Oct 2018
female Para archer Wu Chunyan draws back her bow to shoot an arrow

Wu Chunyan finally beat Paralympic and world champion Zahra Nemati to take gold at Indonesia 2018

By Will Davies | For the IPC and APC

It was a day of shocks and surprises at the archery on day five of the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games, with two world champions beaten to gold and an historic first title for India.

In the women’s recurve open W2 final China’s Wu Chunyan finally got the better of Iran’s Zahra Nemati.

Nemati has had Chunyan’s measure in finals of late, with the Iranian star beating her Chinese opponent in the final at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and also taking the gold medal at the Beijing 2017 World Championships, with Chunyan having to settle for third.

But in the final at Indonesia 2018, Chunyan exacted a small amount of revenge, winning the contest 6-4 to claim the gold medal.

“I always meet opposite Zahra Nemati from Iran so I wanted to finally win for me,” Chunyan said in Jakarta.

For Nemati, who competed in both the Paralympic and Olympic Games at Rio 2016 and carried the flag for Iran at the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, she was already looking ahead to further competition.

“Now I have a silver medal and today I had a good match. But I hope that tomorrow again I will have a gold medal,” she said.

There was an even bigger surprise in the men’s recurve open W2, with India’s Harvinder Singh beating China’s world champion Zhao Lixue 6-0.

Harvinder said he knew shortly before he stepped out for the final that he would win the gold medal.

“In my quarter-final (and) semi-final matches I was just nervous. But yesterday we are shooting in mixed team and at that time my shooting is very good,” he said.

“Today when I was shooting in the practice period, at that time I am sure because all of my arrows are going there - where I shoot, the arrow was going into that place.

“Then I was sure I will get the gold.”

The 27-year-old says he hopes his success can have a ripple effect and inspire many more Indians in Para sport.

“Definitely, because it’s the first medal in the history of Para archery in India,” he said.

“Then it is just my stone which I have started. Now it will be continuing and it will take [on] the development of Para archery in India.

“Now we are starting to get medals from the international competition. Next time we will be compared to others and India will be more strong.”