Never in the annals of Indian sport, archery has ever provided a strong medal prospect in Olympics. But the London Games are going to change it all.
India will be sending three men and as many women to the Olympics. They are all in good form.
Leading the medal hopes are petite Deepika Kumari and the men’s team.
Only four, the women’s team of Deepika, Laishram Bombayla Devi and Chekrovolu Swuro and Jayanta Talukdar had qualified from the Turin world championship last year.
The men’s recurve team, comprising Talukdar, Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai, sealed the team berth a few days ago at Ogden (U.S.) thus enhancing India’s chances of more than one medal.
The archery event at the Olympics, to be held at Lord’s, is no less competitive than the world championship that attracts the best of talent. The Indian women’s team won the silver medal in such a high voltage meet was a clear pointer to the emerging status of India.
The quadrennial showpiece event is restricted to top 64 archers and 12 teams.
This means the cream of world archery will be on view and the competition will also be tough.
A medal in Olympics has its own charm and prestige. Therefore, the preparation of the archers will be at its best.
Indian archers have always excelled as a unit, the fact being the three archers are in a similar mould with an ability to shoot above average scores. Most of the teams barring Korea, the U.S., Japan, Chinese Taipei and a few others do not have three archers of the same calibre.
The advantage the Indian teams enjoy is that they have been shooting together for a period of time giving them the understanding and confidence to perform at crucial stages.
Individually, Deepika, Talukdar and Tarundeep Rai have proved in the past with stellar showing.
Current junior world champion Deepika has also been a world champion in the cadet section and is being strongly tipped to be one of the favourites at London.
Talukdar too has done well in the individual section and has been among medals since 2006 when he won the first World Cup at Porec.
He has some impressive victories against top European and Asian archers.
The Guwahati-born Tata Steel assistant sports officer is hoping for a favourable draw to make a great impact in the Olympics.
Armyman Rai, born in the hills of Sikkim and endowed with the traits of tribal hunters, has a silver from the last Asian Games. He is known to be a tenacious and gutsy fighter.
He can be a real threat to any body when he gets going.
He has an outside chance to land a medal provided he is able to stay focused.
“We have the best chance this time to be among the medals,” felt national coach Limba Ram.
“Our archers are peaking at the right time. We need to get a fairly good draw to make it to the medal round.”
“This is the second Olympics we will have both teams participating.
“The scores our archers are touching consistently, I feel India’s chances of winning medals have increased,” said the Archery Association of India’s secretary P.N. Mukherjee.
Keywords: 2012 London Olympics