The Indian women's recurve team lived up to its reputation as a top-ranked unit by winning the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games archery competition at the Yamuna Sports Complex here on Friday.
In the summit clash, India, comprising the trio of Dola Banerjee, Deepika Kumari and Bombayala Devi, overcame England 207-206. The home archers made the most of some passionate support from the spectators.
The Indian men, also seeded top, disappointed. They lost in the semifinals to Australia, but salvaged some pride by taking the bronze with a 221-218 win over England.
Requiring a minimum of eight from the three in the last round to win the women's crown, England's Naomi Anne Folkard shot a 9 that sent the spectators cheering louder. By the time Amy Lee Oliver took the bow for her turn, the decibel levels increased further. However, Folkard came up with a poor 6 that helped India's cause in the end.
“We are really thrilled. I know we were a bit lucky in the end,” said Dola at the press conference. “This win will give us confidence for the Asian Games next month,” she said.
Deepika said the reason for the success in the final was the mutual support from each other during tough times. “It was difficult in the middle but we backed each other,” she said.
The resurrection of the recurve teams, said Dola, began with the arrival of Korean coach Lim Chae-woong in 2002. She said the Korean changed the way India practiced archery.
“Earlier we used to practice four to five hours a day in the morning. After he came, we did night training and started practicing for eight hours a day,” she said.
Dola attributed the gold medal to the efforts the team had put in the last 15 months or so. “We have been practising hard for the last one and a half years.
“The Government of India, the Archery Federation of India, helped by Sahara, enabled us to go on numerous trips abroad. It all has benefited us immensely,” she said.
While it was widely expected that there would be a double for the recurve teams, the Indian men caved in without much of a fight losing to Australia.
Rahul Banerjee, Tarundeep Rai and Jayanta Talukdar couldn't consistently keep up their high levels of scoring.
Keywords: Commonwealth Games 2010