The Indian archery team, led by World No. 1 Jayanta Talukdar, left for Shanghai on Sunday evening to participate in the year’s fourth and final edition of the World Grand Prix.
For the eight-member team, the event assumes great importance because it is the last major tournament before the Doha Asian Games. In fact, in terms of individual glory, this event could be even more important than the Asiad.
“We are looking forward to this tournament. For us, a good show in Shanghai will go a long way in boosting our chances at the Asiad,” said Talukdar, who will be in action in Shanghai from Tuesday.
Talukdar, in fact, has more to play for than just team honours. He is currently the top-ranked player in the world, but only 10 points separate him from the world No. 2, Korea’s Kyung-mo Park. Thus Talukdar must perform well to hold on to his No. 1 ranking for the year.
"The competition between us is quite stiff, and you can never rule out even Yamamoto of Japan, who is ranked third in the world. Points can change in no time… I think it is as much a game of the mind as of skill,” said Talukdar.
Thus the contest in Shanghai will be a test of Talukdar’s character, and would also show what he has gained from his recent trip to Korea.
"In Korea, I was adviced to make certain changes in my body postures… It was falling back slightly,” added Talukdar.
The team has just returned from practice in Doha, as the Archery Association of India (AAI) wished to give the archers a feel of the venue; which was a good thing because, according to the archers, the conditions in Doha are rather difficult.
Tarundeep Rai, who is also a part of the team, said, “The winds were very strong and it was really tough to control your shots. Besides, the temperatures were high - around 40° C. We are told it’ll get more windy in December, though the temperatures will fall a bit.”
Men (Recurve): Jayanta Talukdar, Tarundeep Rai, Mangal Singh, Biswas;
Women (Recurve): Dola Banerjee, Reena Kumari, Chekrovolu Sworu, Punyaprabha. Women (Compound): Jhanu Hansda, Manjudha Soy, Bhagyabati Chanu, Sweety Kumari.