Duncan Busby made Commonwealth Games history for England at the Yamuna Sports Complex in Delhi today, beating team-mate Chris White in the men’s individual compound final to chalk up England’s 600th gold medal in Commonwealth Games history.
Busby arrowed in on England’s 22nd Delhi gold with two impressive performances in the quarters and semi-finals before outscoring his compatriot six sets to two in a friendly final watched by the full contingent of England’s archery squad.
White took the silver to add a third medal to England archery’s day six tally, it’s sixth medal in Delhi so far.
Having never won an archery gold before coming to these Games, England now has four thanks to the men’s and women’s compound teams, plus nerveless Nicky Hunt in the women’s individual compound this morning and Busby’s brilliant display in the men’s final which sealed an English sweep of the compound titles.
“It could have gone either way but it went my way today,” said the 26-year-old who comes from Heswall on the Wirrall.
“It means such a lot to me. England have taken all the medals in compound archery this time and that’s very important this close to an Olympics.”
Busby bagged his chance to claim a place in the history books by winning a tough quarter-final against Australian Robert Timms, 7-3, then set-up the all-England final with a steely performance against Shaun Teasdale in which he allowed the New Zealander to cut a 4-0 lead to two points before sealing the win.
White had to recover from two sets down in his semi-final to beat the pre-event favourite, Septimus Cilliers, 6-4, as the South African allowed the pressure to get to him.
The Rugby-based building surveyor had previously beaten Welshman Tapani Owen Kalmaru 6-2 in the quarter-final but faltered, just slightly, against his friend and rival with the Commonwealth title on the line.
With England already assured of gold and silver, there was a light-hearted atmosphere around the arena. But with the Commonwealth title on the line it was serious stuff for the men on the line.
A member of the Blackthorn Bowmen’s club, Busby’s been loosing arrows for 13 years. “I guess I’ve got an eye for it,” he said. “I was always interested in shooting so I thought archery is something I could try. It’s about hitting it right on the target.”
He was certainly on target today, firing eight of his 16 arrows right to the centre.
White, who became European champion last year, had looked the more likely champion after the quarters and semi-finals, and admitted he fell slightly below par in the final, spearing the maximum just five times, a small margin of error, but enough to give Busby the edge.
“There was a lot of pressure but it was a great run coming into the finals,” he said. “In the final I had a few form issues that I need to go back home and sort out.
“But it’s fantastic that England won all the golds in the compound events. Archery came back to the Commonwealth Games after 28 years and it’s not in the next one, so this was our opportunity.
“Silver means everything. Before coming to this event I just wanted to win a medal, probably gold, but I walk away with one gold and one silver.”