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Archer Rahul wants to win Olympic medal for sister

Indian archer Rahul Banerjee wishes to fulfil his elder sister Dola's dream of getting the first archery medal for India, something she could not achieve despite becoming a world champion.

india Updated: Jul 24, 2012 13:19 IST

Indian archer Rahul Banerjee says his success graph would not have gone upward without motherly support of his elder sister Dola and he is motivated to win a medal at Olympics as it remained her unfulfilled dream.

Having grown up watching Dola at the Baranagar Archery Club in Kolkata, the 25-year-old now wishes to fulfil his sister's dream of getting the first archery medal for India, something she could not achieve despite becoming a world champion.

"I remember the early days when didi would win a tournament and spend all her prize money on getting me equipment. I would not be here without her," an emotional Rahul, who is part of the men's archery triumvirate with Tarundeep Rai and Jayanta Talukdar, told PTI in an interview.

"She has been like my mother in archery. I was extremely forgetful but she ensured that all my things were in order. Now, however, I've started taking responsibilities," the Commonwealth Games individual gold medallist added with a smile.

The 32-year-old, Dola, carried India's baton at the Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008 with a best ever seventh place in the team event of the previous Olympics but this time she could not make the cut.

"I will really miss her. It would have been a dream come true for us if we -- the brother-sister duo -- had been part of the same Olympics. It's unfortunate. But we try our best to return with a medal to make all of us proud."

Rahul said Dola would arrive in London to support them but only after their team final on July 28.

"There was some Visa problems. But she would be here on July 29 and I would get her support ahead of the individual competitions (from July 30-August 3).

The men's team went through a disastrous phase in 2011.

From being No 1 till the World Cup 2011 Stage 1 when they beat three-time Olympic champions Korea before losing to the US to settle for a silver, India have slipped to No 6.

The wounded Indians lifted the giant monkey off their back when they stunned the same Koreans in World Cup 2012 Stage 2 in May this year and later clinched the Olympic berth on the sidelines of Stage III this month.

Rahul's campaign however had started on a jittery note at the World Cup Stage III in Ogden when he lost his bow box in the transit as he had to manage the Olympic qualification through borrowed equipment.

But little did he realise then that it would be a blessing for him as he emerged as more strong and brave.

"I got my bow box back just before the Olympic qualification round. It was too late. I went ahead with the borrowed equipment. Now I consider it as a blessing in disguise. I was more determined. There was no looking back. And, we combined very well as a team," he said.

"We shot 229, our best ever at any international meet, against the Netherlands in the first round (of the World Cup). It set the tone (for the Olympic qualification round)."

Indians beat the Aussies to enter final of the Olympic qualification round to clinch their London berths.

"We are at our best form together. In our last two meetings, we have emerged winners against the Koreans. There is no reason why we would not aim for a medal," Rahul said of the team that is placed third in current FITA rankings.

A big fan of Roger Federer, Rahul also hopes to get a first hand glimpse of his icon when the Swiss carries his country's baton at the Wimbledon courts.

"I really get inspired by him. The way he carries himself so fluently at this age is phenomenal. I will be blessed if I get to see a match of him. I hope the archery dates are not clashing," he signed off.

First Published: Jul 24, 2012 13:07 IST