Curtains fell on the 20th Asian Archery Championships yesterday at the Bangabandhu National Stadium after days of South Korea's dominance while hosts Bangladesh ended their campaign by just missing out on a bronze medal on the final day of Asia's biggest show of bows and arrows.
The Bangladesh women's compound team, comprising of Susmita Banik, Roksana Akter and Bonna Akter, surprisingly advanced to the bronze-medal deciding match after losing to India in the semifinals. However, they ultimately had to be content with a fourth-placed finish after a 217-229 loss to Iran in the bronze match.
The Bangladeshi girls led Iran through the first six shots but were derailed after poor displays on the following 12, after which they never recovered.
However, even reaching that stage was beyond expectations for the compound team, who had earlier defeated third ranked Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinal to meet India, where they lost 228-213.
"It is the first time that we beat Chinese Taipei though we lost to them in the gold-medal match in the Asia Cup earlier this year. We tried to play our natural game instead of thinking of the result because we knew that the results would come if we could give our best," said Susmita.
Susmita and her teammates pointed to inexperience as the reason behind the two losses.
"We wanted to keep the momentum intact and started well against India but failed to control our temperament as the match progressed and were a bit nervous about playing against a top team like India," said Bonna, the youngest archer.
"Actually we played few tournaments at the international level compared to them, so we lacked experience and could not recover despite taking the lead [against Iran]," Roksana explained.
Bangladesh came into the championships with the aim of qualifying for the quarterfinal stages of events. There were high hopes in the recurve men's event and on Roman Sana, but he failed to shine and was eliminated in the pre-quarterfinal stage. However, the target was eventually achieved as they qualified for five quarterfinals in the recurve men's team, compound men's team, compound women's team, mixed compound team and individual compound men's events.
But while Bangladesh showed steady improvement, South Korea tightened their stranglehold on Asian archery by raising their gold tally from six, in the last iteration two years ago, to eight this time around.
South Korea -- whose archers had won all four gold medals in archery at the Rio Olympics -- had already won five of six golds, and yesterday snatched three more from a total of four up for grabs. India were the only other gold winners and they prevented South Korea from sweeping the events after striking gold in compound women's team and compound men's events.
South Korean coach Kim Seonghoon praised his archers for the overwhelming success.
“I first want to thank Dhaka for organising such a good championship here. I also want to thank my archers without whom it would not be possible to win eight gold medals. They did really well," said Seonghoon. "Winning eight gold medals is not an easy task at the international level because the technique and standard of other archers are almost equal to the South Korea's."