In the Under-21 men’s recurve solo final, the 19-year-old from Satara, Maharashtra, put the cherry on top by defeating a Korean,
At the Youth World Championships, Parth Salunkhe became the first male archer to win a gold medal in the recurve division, and India finished with their highest-ever haul of 11 medals.
By winning the Under-21 men’s recurve solo final on Sunday in Limerick, Ireland, the 19-year-old from Satara in Maharashtra put the cherry on top.
In a tense five-set match, Salunkhe, who finished first in the rankings round, defeated seventh seed Song Injun 7-3 (26-26, 25-28, 28-26, 29-26, 28-26).
Bhaja Kaur’s 7-1 victory over Chinese Taipei’s Su Hsin-Yu in the Under-21 women’s recurve individual competition earned India a bronze medal as well (28-25, 27-27, 29-25, 30-26).
India finished with the most medals overall, six gold, one silver, and four bronze, placing first in the rankings.
However, they came in second place in the medal count behind Korea, which won six gold and four silver medals to take the top spot.
Salunkhe was down 1-3 after Injun’s first six arrows, which included two flawless 10s and three 9s.
When it appeared like Korea would once again dominate India, the previous senior national champion Salunkhe fought back and won the third set by two points. To tie the match at three, he drilled an arrow that was closer to the center (X).
Salunkhe went on to hit two 10s and one 9 to grab a 5-3 lead before putting the game away with two Xs, putting a lot of pressure on Injun.
Salunkhe, a teacher’s son, was the first male archer to win a youth world championship after coach Praveen Sawant saw his potential during the post-pandemic phase in 2021.
Salunkhe trained under Ram Avdesh at the SAI center in Sonipat after Sawant recognized his talent.
Deepika Kumari won the cadet and youth world titles in the women’s recurve event in 2009 and 2011, while Komalika Bari of Jharkhand followed suit in 2019 and 2021.
Salunkhe is the sixth Indian archer to win the world championship title in the junior competition.
The other young world champions in compound archery are Aditi Swami and Priyansh, who took first place here in 2006, and Palton Hansda.
Salunkhe previously won two bronze medals in the same competition in Sulaymaniyah and Sharjah last year, as well as a silver in the Singapore Asia Cup Leg 3 in June of this year.
Salunkhe’s chances of qualifying for the World Championships and Asian Games are still up in the air.