Rio De Janeiro (Brazil), Aug. 8: The India women's archery team suffered a heartbreak in the shoot-off to decide the quarterfinal encounter against World champions Russia at the Olympic Archery Arena, where star performer Laishram Bombayla Devi's nerves betrayed her.
Russia, the reigning World champions, and India ended level on points after four sets with the scores reading (Russia-India) 55-48, 52-53, 50-53, 55-54.
Russia then won the shoot-off 25-23, leaving the Indian girls dejected, but they able to hold their heads high as they had matched the world's top team on equal terms.
Unlike at the 2012 London Olympics, where the Indian recurve team had net melted away in the heat of the challenge confronting them, the girls put up a gallant show.
But it will be no consolation for Bombayla, who was the pick among the Indian archers, but shot a poor score of seven (7) to start the tie-break and India failed to recover from the three-point advantage that Russia got through their perfect 10 score.
Russia got six and nine on the next two shots, while Majhi and Deepika shot eight each and it was over.
In the end, it was up to Deepika to hit the bull's eye for a perfect 10 to tie the scores, but this was not her day.
She had begun with a 10 in her first shot of the quarterfinal and repeated it once again in the third set, but could not match Bombayla's three perfect 10 shots.
Bombayla was the star performer for India today as they first overcame the challenge of Colombia to set up a team event quarterfinal against Russia.
It was a repeat of the 2015 World Championship final in Copenhagen, where Russia had overcome the Indians to grab the title.
The script was a lot different this time, with the Indian girls - Bombayla, Laxmirani Majhi and Deepika Kumari - rallying from a disappointing first-set performance to take the next two sets.
The Russian trio of Ksenia Perova, Inna Stepanova and Tuiana Dashidorzhieva were suddenly feeling the impact of the Indian challenge, but managed to clinch the fourth set by a narrow margin and take the issue to a shoot-out.
Bombayla's fine show went in vain as Manjhi and Deepika were inconsistent, allowing Russia to take the contest to the shootout.
Deepika was expected to lead the Indian challenge, but it was Bombayla who took charge as the others hit a rough patch.
"Bombayla performed a great task for India today, alas she had a bad shot in the shoot-out and we faltered," said head coach Dharmendra Tiwari.
"It was up to the other two archers to back up Bombayla at this juncture, but they could not hit the immaculate shot." "This is what archery is all about.
We ought to be proud of the way Bombayla played today, which was outstanding except for that poor last shot," said Tiwari, hoping the archers will be able to do well in the individual event.
"The strong gusts of wind twice before India's turn to shoot could have been a factor as we did not have much practice against strong wind," said Tiwari.
The Russian trio, however, were not able to enjoy their victory for long as South Korea defeated them in the finals to claim their eighth successive gold medal in the event.