Dhiraj Bommadevara takes blame double misfire, experts say this 'can happen' in archery
Rising Indian archer Dhiraj Bommadevara blamed himself for the "technical fault" as he botched the release and missed the target twice in his quarterfinal defeat at the Asian Games in GHanzhou on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old, who had an impressive year winning the World Cup bronze and recently shocked double Olympic champion Kim Woojin, had an emphatic start shooting three 10s to take a 2-0 lead against Ilfat Abdullin.
The Kazakh started off with a 10 in the second set and Dhiraj responded with his arrow landing below the target in a bizarre manner.
This happened not just once but twice in eight arrows as he once again misfired with his arrow getting stuck on the edges of target board.
"It has never ever happened with me even during my practice," Dhiraj, whose archery career began after joining Army Sports Institute five years back, told PTI in an interaction after the debacle.
"The middle finger got accidentally pressed and suddenly my mind got blank. I started taking extra caution that may have affected my shot in the fourth set," he explained.
With Atanu Das also making an exit from the quarterfinals, India will once again return empty-handed from an individual recurve event.
No Indian has been able to win a recurve individual medal at the Asian Games since Tarundeep Rai won a silver at Guangzhou 2010.
Asked if it's jinxed for India, he said: "I don't want to blame any secondary factor. This was purely my mistake and I will be mindful of this next time."
"Everything was going very smooth and I was very excited to take part in my maiden multidiscipline Games. But it was purely unexpected.
"However that's what in store for me. I've to look forward and give my best in the team event (quarterfinal) on Friday," he added.
Italian great Sergio Pagni, who is the head coach of compound team, played it down and said archery has a "lot of mechanical components and some failure can happen."
"Even though it may seem easy to consistently hit a 12-cm ring at a distance of 70 meters, one must consider that even minor differences in the position of holding the string can be critical at that distance," Pagni told PTI from Hangzhou.
Dissecting the glitch minutely, the two-time World Cup Final winner said the value of error is "approximately 1.22 meters."
"Using a calculator, the value of the error is approximately 1.22 metres. So, if you deviate by only 1 degree at a distance of 70 metres, you can miss the target by about 1.22 metres," the 44-year-old summed it up.
India's high performance director Sanjeeva Singh said this happens once in 1000 times, but it's "unfortunate that for Dhiraj it happened twice in a match."
"In archery, there is a term called pinching where pressure shifts to the fingers from the back muscles and the first finger presses the arrow lifting it above the arrow rest and it goes out, something like this would have happened," the Dronacharya Awardee told PTI.
"Yes it can happen... once the pressure comes in the fingers first or middle the arrow will go off the arrow rest and outside the target," he said.
But it's something that Dhiraj needs to address, said a World Archery official.