Abhishek Verma gave India a perfect Independence Day gift by clinching the gold medal in the compound men’s individual section to open their account in the Archery World Cup Stage 3 on Saturday.
Having failed as a team in the bronze play-off earlier in the day, the world number 18 was at his best in the individual final as he held on to his lead to wrap up the issue 148-145 against Esmaeil Ebadi of Iran.
The Asian Games silver medallist thus avenged his defeat to Ebadi at the Incheon 2014 in style.
India’s recurve mixed pair of Deepika Kumari and Mangal Singh Champia will look to earn the country a second gold when they face their opponents from Mexico on Sunday.
Verma had 13 perfect 10s, including five arrows closest to the centre from 15 arrows, in an extraordinary exhibition of shooting in the summit clash.
The Delhi lad had a perfect start to the grudge match when he shot maximum (30) that included one closest to the centre in reply to Ebadi’s 28 in the first end.
Continuing his fine form, the 26-year-old had two 10s and one nine to extend his lead by three points after the second end.
The Iranian did not give up as he shot 30 in the third end, but it did not matter to the Indian, who matched his rival and had two closest to the centre en route to a 89-86 lead.
Verma had another perfect round of 30 in the fourth end against Ebadi’s 29 for a commanding four-point lead and it was just a formality for the Indian to settle the issue in the fifth and final end.
Ebadi shot maximum in the final end and Verma responded with one point less but that was enough to win the gold.
At Incheon Asiad, the first continental Games to include compound archery as a competition discipline, Verma went down to the top seed Iranian 141-145.
Earlier India gave up easily to lose the bronze medal play-off against a higher-ranked Italy who put up a consistent show to win the compound men’s team event 233-230.
The trio of Verma, Kawal Preet Singh and Rajat Chauhan trailed 57-58 after the first end of six arrows, which included a poor eight.
The fourth seeded Indian team recovered in the second end, shooting on par against the Italians 59-59. But that was not enough as the trio of Federico Pagnoni, Michele Nencioni and Sergio Pagni held on to their one-point lead.
India faltered once again with three 9s in the third end to total 57 while the third seeded Italians shot 59 for a three-point lead with six arrows to go.
Required to score big, India crumbled under pressure with another round of 57 that gave Italy an easy victory.