India’s youngest world archery champion, Aditi Gopichand is a 17-yr-old prodigy

17-year-old Aditi Gopichand Swami scripted history last month at the Hyundai World Archery Championships held in Berlin, Germany. — IANS

Harsh Shukla

New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) Hailing from Satara, Maharashtra, 17-year-old Aditi Gopichand Swami scripted history last month at the Hyundai World Archery Championships held in Berlin, Germany.

She won India’s first-ever individual compound title and became the youngest Indian world champion at the age of 17, making history in the World Cup era (from 2006 on).

The legacy of Deepika Kumari, Abhishek Verma, Jayant Talukdar and Limba Ram will continue to dominate on the international stage with Swami adding her name to the tally.

Swami has already performed at the best level and is looking forward to major tournaments. The upcoming Paris Olympics 2024 will be the major challenge for her, which she would look to conquer before the Asian Games 2023, which will give her the platform to boost her morale.

After winning gold in the compound women’s team competition, a first for India, with compatriots Jyothi Surekha Vennam and Parneet Kaur, the 17-year-old defeated Andrea Becerra with a score of 149–147 to win the tag of double world champion, just after winning the junior world champion title less than two months ago.

In the gold medal final, the three Indians defeated the Mexican combination of Dafne Quintero, Ana Sofa Hernandez Jeon, and Andrea Becerra 235-229.

In the 2023 World Archery Youth Championship that took place in Limerick, the Netherlands, in a nail-biting shootout in the quarterfinals, she overcame Sanne De Laat of the Netherlands.

In the semifinals, she faced off against Jyothi Surekha Vennam, a compound colleague who had previously won bronze in 2019 and silver in 2021.

Vennam won bronze against Turkey’s Ipek Tomruk making it a double showing for India at the podium. The semifinal match against her idol and colleague Jyothi was Swami’s biggest challenge. She triumphed decisively, winning 149-145.

After winning the championship, Swami stated, “I am very proud, I wanted to hear the 52 seconds of the national anthem to be played at the World Championships. It is really great that at 17, I could become the world champion.”

World Archery, the governing body of the sport, also announced her win, tweeting, “Aditi Swami gets the FIRST individual WORLD TITLE for India. The 17-year-old prodigy is now the world champion.”

In order for Swami to have access to sporting facilities, her family relocated from a village 15 km away to Satara city. Gopichand, her father, started working as a maths teacher in the city. Gopichand, who had a strong enthusiasm for sports, wanted his daughter to participate in at least one sport.

Her struggling story exemplifies tenacity and unwavering determination. Swami will be seen in action again in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

“I know that Aditi is capable of doing very well for India. I’m sure she will continue her form at the Asian Games next month.” said Gopinath.

Although Swami looks confident ahead of the Asian Games, it won’t be easy for her. She will face challenges from the best of the archers from South Korea, North Korea, China, Japan, and also from her Indian teammates.

- Advertisement -