India topped the recurve team rankings in both the men’s and women’s sections but Monday, the opening day of the Commonwealth Games archery competition, was not without concerns.
On the brighter side was the fact that the Indian women’s team of Deepika Kumari (662), Dola Banerjee (658) and L. Bombayla Devi (624) finished on top and, following a first-round bye, entered the semifinals of the recurve section. They will play the winners of Singapore and Malaysia on Friday.
The men’s team of Rahul Banerjee (679), Jayanta Talukdar (676) and Tarundeep Rai (647) too topped the charts and were in the quarterfinals after a first-round bye. They will face the winners of Sri Lanka and Scotland on Wednesday for a berth in the semifinals.
What has concerned the Indian think-tank though is the drop in performance of SAF Games gold-medallist, Tarundeep, and Bombayla. “I am not happy,” Pareshnath Mukherjee, the secretary-general of the Archery Association of India, said. “I wanted all three to be right up there. I hope they will pick up in the elimination rounds. Recurve is our best bet to win medals,” he added.
In the individual section, Indians were placed one-two in both men’s and women’s events. “We had a good opening day,” said Talukdar, who won bronze in the grand final of the World Cup in Edinburgh last month.
Dola and Deepika were neck-and-neck throughout the session. “It was a good round,” said Dola. “But tomorrow is a new day.”
Bombayla finished ninth, but even that got her a bye in the first-elimination round as there were just 22 women in the competition. In the men’s section, there were 38 and a 13th rank earned by Tarundeep was a matter of concern indeed.
India’s chances of winning team gold in both the categories will depend a lot on Tarundeep and Bombayla.
In the compound section, India put up a modest show with CH Jignas (693), C. Srither (691) and Ritul Chatterjee (685) finishing 17th, 18th and 21st respectively among men. India were sixth in the team qualification rankings. In the women’s section, India were a dismal fifth in the eight-team competition. Gagandeep Kaur (675), Jhano Hansda (674) and Bheigyabati Chanu (667) finished 15th, 17th and 21st in individual rankings.