Focused on winning their first ever Olympic medal, the Indian archers will give Friday’s much-awaited opening ceremony of the Rio Games a miss.
“We’ve a hectic schedule on Friday and we cannot afford any slip-up in the crucial ranking round. We will catch it (opening ceremony) on TV,” Indian chief archery coach Dharmendra Tiwari said on the sidelines of their last practice session at Sambodromo in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.
The opening ceremony will be held at the 78,000 capacity Maracana Stadium, two kilometres from Sambodromo. The three-hour opening ceremony will begin at 8pm (04:30 hrs IST Saturday).
The parade of the Indian athletes is slated to begin at 9.37pm local time with a 29-second slot. India’s only individual gold medallist, shooter Abhinav Bindra will be the flag-bearer in his swansong Olympics and the 118-member contingent will march at 95th among the 207 countries at the march past.
The Indian contingent will be preceded by Yemen and followed by Indonesia.
Having made a first round exit in London in 2012, the archers will begin their campaign with the men’s individual and team ranking rounds, slated Friday morning, while the afternoon session will begin at 1pm (local time) when the women’s individual and team rankings will take place.
Even though they have a break day on August 6 when men’s team eliminations will be held, the archers have opted to skip the historic march past of the athletes.
The women’s team of Bombayla Devi Laishram, Laxmirani Majhi and Deepika Kumari will be a strong contender for a medal as the trio will look to finish well in the ranking round to get an easy draw.
The archers, who are the first among the Indians to touch down in the Brazilian host city, are not staying at the Games Village in faraway Barra and instead are putting up in a hotel next to the iconic Sambodromo, the Samba street of Rio de Janeiro.