When the Indian archers take the field on Friday, all eyes will be on teenage prodigy Deepika Kumari, who turned 18 on June 13.
The reigning youth world champion shoulders the task of breaking into the Korean bastion just like Saina Nehwal has to do against the Chinese in badminton.
Korean women have won all the Olympic team gold medals in the history of the event since team championships began in 1988. Deepika is India’s best bet for an individual medal and she is in ominous form leading to the Games.
Bo Bae Ki is part of the team for the last three years and that in itself is something because Koreans say the competition within is more difficult. Her teammate Sung Jin Lee won individual silver and team gold at Athens and is back here after recovering from a shoulder injury.Friday’s ranking round is also crucial for India’s quest for a medal in the team championships.
“Both the men’s and women’s teams have a bright chance to return with a medal,” said two-time Olympian archer Dola Banerjee who will reach London on Sunday, the day of the women’s team competition.
Banerjee will go there as an observer for the Indian Railways.
“The factor that increases the chances of a medal in the team event is that it will be over in one day. In archery the feel you have at the beginning of the day is very important. It has its disadvantages but if you are not doing well. But if you are feeling good you can beat any opponent like the women’s team beating Korea in the semi-finals of the World Championships in Turin last year but then losing to a softer opponent Italy in the final the next day,” said Banerjee, whose younger brother Rahul is part of the men’s team.