Earlier today at Sambódromo shooting venue, India’s first ever Paralympic archery competitor, Pooja, lost to London 2012 Paralympic bronze medalist Milena Olelszewska of Poland in the women’s open recurve round of 16 event.
In the first set, Pooja scored a 22 off arrows of 8, 8 and 6. Olelszewska beat her with a score of 25 off arrows of 10, 8 and 7. In the second set, Pooja had a bad first shot for a 3, but then improved on this greatly to score 9 and 9. Her final score of 21 was not good enough to beat Olelszewska’s score of 23, with arrows of 9, 8 and 6. In third set, Pooja showed she was clearly the future of Paralympic archery in India as a potential medalist in Tokyo with shots of 10, 7 and 8 for a score of 25. Olelszewska only scored 24 points with shots of 8, 8 and 7. In the fourth set, Pooja kept things competitive with Olelszewska with a score of 22 on shots of 6, 7 ad 9. The Pole scored 23 on shots of 8, 8 and 7.
Olelszewska won with 6 set points to Pooja’s 2. The pair were relatively evenly matched with Pooja putting up a total score of 90 to the Pole’s 95. Had she not scored a 3 on her first shot in the second set, Pooja could well have advanced. Her frustration was evident after her match, as she understandably did not want to talk to the media.
Pooja came to Rio as a 25-year-old from the Indian state of Haryana. She was one of the only Dalit sportspeople on the Indian team, and only one of three women to represent India at the 2016 Summer Paralympics.