Friday, 1 October 2010

Indian archers look to strike Gold

Boasting of world champions, the Indian archery team will look to hit the bull's eye despite being up against a formidable field when the sport returns to the Commonwealth Games after 28 years at the Yamuna Sports Complex range here on Monday.

With 2007 World Cup final winner Dola Banerjee, the 12-member Indian squad will target the recurve individual and team events to grab at least six gold medals that head coach Limba Ram has targetted out of the eight up for grabs.

"We have a strong side with a lot of experience. We should make merry in the home conditions and hope for six gold medals with top places in men's and women's recurve section," Limba said.

Asked about their preparation, Limba said, "We have been preparing for the CWG and Asian Games for the last two years. There were no exposure trips but our archers have done really well at the different legs of the World Cup and the Asian GPs."

Gearing up for the premier event, the archers have made an early start in March 2009 with a core group of 64 that has been pruned to a 12-member squad - three each in the recurve and compound bow sections (men's and women's).

There will be 16 medals (gold, silver and bronze) up for grabs with individual and team events in each category.

Tarundeep Rai, Jayanta Talukdar and Rahul Banerjee will lead the challenge against the likes of three-time Olympian Matthew Gray, Australia's best medal chance, in a high-voltage men's recurve field.

Gray will compete alongside compatriots Taylor Worth and Mathew Masonwells.

The Indian men's trio is high on confidence especially after their gold medal triumph in the World Cup Stage 4 in Shanghai (September 2-5) with a record 224 score, the highest so far.

"Everything is going in the right direction for us. In the initial round at the World Cup, we beat England who will again compete against us at the CWG. We also beat Asian Games competitors China (in the semis)," a confident Banerjee said.

Indian archers had begun the year in style as they swept all the gold medals at the 11th South Asian Games in Dhaka.

In the run-up to CWG, the women's recurve team were not as successful as their men's counterpart but the rise of 14-year-old Deepika Kumari, who won a silver in World Cup Stage 4 (Shanghai), augurs well for them.

The Ranchi girl, incidentally, is also the reigning cadet world champion and senior national champion.

The team returned empty-handed from the Shanghai meet, but they had made up for men's disappointing performance at the World Cup Stage 3 (Ogden, August 4-8) winning the silver.


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