The accomplishment and euphoria following India's grand show in the archery event of the Commonwealth Games, especially in the recurve section, will matter little when the Asian Games come around at Guangzhou in a month's time.
The three gold, one silver and four bronze medals, out of which the silver and a bronze were earned from the compound section, do not ensure India's success in China by any stretch of the imagination.
The trio which represented India in recurve at the New Delhi Games will remain the same but will be bolstered by the fourth member, Mangal Singh Champia in the men's and Rimil Buruily in the distaff section.
Out of 141 archers from 24 countries and territories that participated here, only seven were considered worth following including the host. In fact, only Australia, England, Canada and Malaysia, apart from the host, were of some class in the recurve segment.
The Asian Games, however, will be a different kind of competition in archery. The quadrennial showpiece will be just behind the World championship and Olympic Games in terms of standards.
“We are expecting at least three medals from the Asian Games,” said Archery Association of India (AAI) Secretary-General Paresh Nath Mukherjee. “I cannot predict the colour of the medals though. Indian archers have really done well at the Commonwealth Games and we only need to carry the confidence to the Asian Games.”
Among the Indians who performed at the Commonwealth Games, Jayanta Talukdar was the highest ranked in the world at No. 5 followed by Simon Terry at No. 8 and Crispin Duenas of Canada at 11. Rahul Banerjee was 15th and Malaysia's Cheng Chu Sian was 19th. Similarly, on the women's side, Deepika Kumar of India was ranked No. 4 followed by Dola Banerjee at No. 10. In the top 20 there was no Australian, Englishwoman or a Canadian.
In the men's team, India is ranked No. 1 and the next best was England at 8th. Australia, which won gold, was placed 15th, Malaysia at 17 and Canada at 18. In the women's section, India was sixth, England 16th, Malaysia was 21st and Canada 26th.
When it comes to the Asian Games, Koreans who dominate world archery will be in full strength. Former World champion Im Dong Hyun and Joo Hyun-Jung lead the No. 1 status in individual world ranking. Korea is the No.1 team in the women's sections. China and Japan follow Korea in top five finishes. The Indian women's team is placed sixth.
In this background, India can at best expect the men's team, Talukdar and Deepika Kumari to be among the medals.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games