Jyothi Vennam and Ojas Deotale emerged champions in a thrilling archery showdown, securing a remarkable second archery gold medal for India at the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou.
In an intense face-off between the top seeded pairs, Jyothi and Ojas narrowly edged out their South Korean rivals, So Chaewon and Joo Jaehoon, 159-158.
With their exceptional performance, India celebrated its 71st medal -- going past the 70 medals it had won at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.
Jyothi Surekha Vennam?
Hailing from Vijayawada, Jyothi's journey has been influenced significantly by her father, a former kabaddi player.
Her remarkable journey began at age four when she swam across the Krishna river three times, covering an impressive distance of 5 kilometers in just three hours, 20 minutes, and 6 seconds.
One of her most significant accomplishments was becoming the first Indian archer, alongside Aditi Gopichand Swami and Parneet Kaur, to win a gold medal at the World Archery Championships in the compound Women's Team final earlier this year.
Her excellence also shone at the Archery World Cup, where she secured gold medals in the compound mixed event in Paris in 2022. She added two more golds in Antalya in 2023, triumphing in the compound mixed and compound individual events respectively.
Jyothi's medals cabinet also inclues four gold medals from the Asian Archery Championships.
The 21 year old's journey began in a humble and resourceful manner.
As a young boy, he fashioned makeshift bows and arrows using broom handles, leading to his mother's frequent purchases of extra brooms to fuel his passion.
Before discovering archery, Ojas had a noteworthy stint in rollerskating, earning medals at the state level in Maharashtra.
In 2015, at 13, Ojas stumbled on archery at a summer camp. He began his archery journey using the Indian bow, but later transitioned to recurve.
In December 2022, Ojas made his debut for the senior Indian team. He won individual silver and contributed to India's team gold victory in the men's compound event during Leg 3 of the Sharjah Asia Cup.
This year, alongside Jyothi, Ojas win the compound mixed team gold medal at both the World Cup Stage 1 in Antalya and the World Cup Stage 2 in Shanghai.
His exceptional talent was highlighted at the World Archery Championships in Berlin, where he won the gold medal in the individual men's compound event final, marking the first-ever such achievement in India's archery history.