Indian archers’ dismal show came to an end at the London Olympics on Wednesday after world No. 1 and medal hope Deepika Kumari bowed out of the women’s individual event having suffered an upset defeat to Amy Oliver of Great Britain in the opening round.
In what came as a biggest setback in India’s Olympic campaign, a completely off-colour Deepika proved to be no match for her British rival, who easily pocketed the encounter 6-2, at the Lord’s cricket ground.
In individual events, which is decided on best-of-five sets (three arrows each), one who wins a set irrespective of the margin gets two points.
Even as both the archers ended up scoring a total of 104 points each, Oliver managed to win three sets to advance to the next round.
Blaming the winds
Today’s event was held under thick overcast conditions and the cold did not seem to suit Deepika, who paid the price for some poor shots.
Deepika blamed the strong winds for the debacle.
“The wind was swirling and swirling much faster than I thought. I just could not adjust to the conditions,” she said.
“I am disappointed. It is my first Olympics so I wanted to get further, but there will be many more. Will practise more, become more confident and hopefully do better,” Deepika added.
The 18-year-old Ranchi girl could bag just one set, and that too mainly because of the rare error made by her opponent, who ended up shooting a four in one of her three chances during the second set.
Deepika, a double gold medal winner at the Commonwealth Games held in Delhi two years ago, failed to hit even a single perfect 10 right through the contest.
On the other hand, Oliver scored two perfect 10s, besides hitting the bull’s eye once.
Oliver scored 27 points in the first round as compared to Deepika’s 26 and that set the tempo for the British archer.
Although the Indian showed signs of staging a comeback by clinching the second round 26-22, she was hardly impressive in the next rounds to follow.
The Briton took the next two rounds 27-26 and 28-26 to put Deepika out of medal reckoning.
Not up to potential
The Indian archery contingent was expected to return with a few medals and many had even gone to predict a historic gold medal for the team.
But the archers have been a big disappointment with none actually performing to his or her true potential.
Both the men’s and women’s teams failed miserably in the early part of their lukewarm campaign.
The trend continued in the individual events too and on Wednesday with Deepika’s shock exit, the Indian challenge in the archery competitions have come to a premature end.
Three men — Rahul Banerjee, Tarundeep Rai and Jayanta Talukdar — formed the men’s team, while Deepika, L. Bombayla Devi and Chekrovolu Swuro comprised the women’s outfit.