At the archery arena in enervating heat and humidity, it’s more than precision at work. The fate of an archer doesn’t hinge on luck and form. It’s determined by a still hand, a still head, most importantly a focused mind. On Saturday, as the trio of L Bombayla Devi, Dola Bannerjee and Pranitha Vardhineni stood for the ranking round, one was forced to think, ‘who would lead the charts for India’
After the arrows vanished from the quiver here in the Olympic Green, L Bombayla Devi finished 22nd with 637 points, ahead of Dola (633) and Pranitha (627) to secure a sixth place for the team with a points tally of 1897. As the top six teams were given a bye to the quarter-finals, India will square off against hosts China, who finished third with 1916 points.
Beating hosts is tough, but not impossible.
“We have beaten China twice in the last couple of years and hope to repeat it here,” said India’s manager KS Kang. “We have done quite well and even the archers are confident.”
Up and down form
India beat China at the Asian Championships and tri-nation tournament at Lord’s last year. But of late, the women archers have had sporadic performances, both individually and as a team. Though Bombayla has been doing well, Dola has not been too consistent. She has not been able to recreate the magic that produced a gold in Dover and Dubai last year. Her showing in the last two World Cups was below par and everyone hopes she can regain form.
“We are satisfied how we ended the day today,” Kang said. “We were expecting middle rankings so that we have an easy round till the last eight. We couldn’t have asked for more. Our team is capable of beating them.”
If India manage to beat China, they could meet Great Britain in the semi-finals. “We are not worried about them, either. We are all focused,” assured Kang. “The archers are prepared for the test. We have trained well both in India and abroad and would like to convert the effort into medals.”
Pranitha mentioned the wind factor but Kang said no one was overtly bothered by the conditions. “We have practised in windy conditions as well as in humid conditions in Kolkata so these things should not bother us.”
The top three places in the individual event went to South Korea’s Park Sung Hyun, Yuk Ho-Hee and Joo Hyun Jung.
As for the team event, we will know which turn India’s fate takes on Sunday. For the individuals we will have to wait till Tuesday.
Champia placed 2nd
Mangal Singh Champia kept the Indian flag flying high in the archery competition by finishing second scoring 678 points in the men’s individual ranking competition.