Dola Banerjee again showed why, after more than a decade, she remains an integral part of the women's recurve archery team. It was thanks to her super finish that the women's recurve team won India their first gold medal in Commonwealth Games archery.
India had pushed themselves to a corner with some erratic initial shooting in the final match against England. L. Bombayla Devi hit a six in the opening end and very quickly, England were running away with the match. The Indians hung in there with consistent nines and eights, and Dola finished with a flourish. England needed 24 from the last three arrows, something that is par for the course.
That is when Amy Lee Oliver, one of their most experienced archers, faltered and shot a six. England still had a chance to win. Anchor, Alison Jane Williamson, had to hit a 10 for gold. She managed only an eight, much to the delight of the crowd, which, FITA secretary general Tom Dielen on Friday afternoon, said, was a lot more cooperative. England lost 206-207. Luck was not on Indians' side when the men's recurve team took the field. Favourites to win gold, the trio of Jayanta Talukdar, Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai lost in the semifinals to eventual gold medal winners Australia and had to settle for bronze.
India got off to a bad start with a six from Tarundeep, who has been struggling for form, and, as a result, has bowed out of the individual event. But the Services man recovered in the third end, yet, the chances of India coming right back was stalled with Banerjee shooting a six. In the bronze medal match, England were always chasing and failed to recover from a poor start. In the final arrow, Talukdar needed just a seven to win. He shot a 10.
"I don't know how I shot a six," Banerjee said later. "We needed a 10 at that time. Both Tarun and Jayanta got 10s but I was nowhere." "We apologise to the fans that we could not win them gold. We will play the Asian Games next month and we will not let the country down," said Tarundeep.