Its like sailboats jockeying for a favourable position,or F1 cars fighting for pole. The opening round in archery could decide destinies,or not matter at all. As Indian archers take to the field at Lords on the morning of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics,the ranking round though could give an indication of the sort of form Indian archers are in,before they go into head-to-head knockouts.
Archers will shoot a 70m round in the qualifiers,12 sets of 6 arrows with a maximum of 720 points on offer. The ranked archers are then drawn up on a list of 64,with the No 1 qualifier going up against No 64,No 2 against No 63 etc. The Indians have come into this Olympics with high hopes,with medal talk backed by some impressive results. Friday morning will quantify just how justified those hopes are,without really getting into medaling category of competition.
Still,the legend of Deepika Kumari continues to grow.
One of the youngest serious contenders around,at 18,she is counted as a threat to Koreans Bo Bae Ki and Sun Jin Lee,but it would be imprudent to dismiss archers from Russia,USA and Italy. Its very difficult at this level,but if anyone can do it,it is Deepika, says coach Limba Ram,even as the teenager prays for the sun,while mentally prepping herself for the worst – windy,wet conditions.
Her virals on the wane,and shes never one to create mental demons,but in the coming days she will be required to show nerveless fingers on the string like she did in Delhi,which brought her into prominence.
The mens team dont quite have a solo poster boy,but have made up for each others lapses en route qualifying late at the last meet in Ogden. Coach Limba Ram remembers the anonymity of his Games days when archers were peripheral,and says the sudden spotlight on archers can only do the team good. Its not just the Koreans,but also the Americans and French and Italians,who fancy their chances for the medal.
Dead winds over the last two days might be deceptive. But we hope the sun stays over, Banerjee says. Friday will establish the early pecking order.