Archers exude confidence

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Beijing, Aug 9 (UNI) India's Mangal Singh Champia gave a stunning display as he finished second with a total of 678 points raising hopes of a medal for the country in the Olympic Men's archery event here today.

Champia was one point behind leader Juan Rene Serrano who shot 679.

The Indian shot 342 and 336 in two session with the help of 13 golden arrows and 40 ten pointer.

In the women's team, even India will take on China in the quarter finals here tomorrow.

A thrilled Champia later said, ''I have a good feeling. I checked the wind and saw where it went and I aimed off to shoot.'' Asked why he could not perform better in the second half, the Indian replied, ''In the second half there was heavy wind and it was not continous so I did not do well in the session.'' To a question that how he will prepare for the individual elimination round, Champia said, ''I will not change my strategy. I will still check the wind and practice.'' Meanwhile, the Indian women team of Dola Banerjee, Bombayala Devi and V Parnitha totalled 1897 points to finish sixth in the team ranking round event today.

Bombayla Devi had a total of 637 in her individual round as she shot 319 and 318 in two halves. Devi had six hits at the gold (bull's eye) while she shot 22 ten pointers.

Dola's individual score was 319 and 314 (633) in the first and second sessions respectively. The World champion hit eight bull's eye and shot 20 ten pointers in her round.

Pranitha aggregated 627 (321 and 306) with three hits on the gold and 18 ten pointers.

''We should have finished fifth, that was our target, but still we are satisfied to be the sixth in the ranking round.'' The result pitted India against China and win against the host will propel them into the semi final where they will clash with Britain who were given the bye.

India has played China thrice recently and emerged winners all the time, ''With bit of luck we can get into the semis,'' a confident Dola said after the event.

Defending champion Korea has been top seeded and is in the other half. ''We are prepared for the big occasion,'' Dola said adding, ''we need some luck too.'' It was under the new format that Dola Banerjee won the World Cup, and leap forged in the rankings and now she hopes that tomorrow she may, with some help from the almighty, be able to reproduce the same form.

''I think we are no longer over awed by the Koreans or Chinese, the wins abroad have given us enough confidence.

''At the moment the wind is favourable. I don't know about tomorrow but as you know in archery wind plays a very crucial role, this is no excuse, this is a very important fact,'' she said.

She admitted to have acclimatised to all kinds of weather conditions. Coming here before has helped her and the team members.

Dola admitted that competition is going to be very tough.

''But we are here to win medal and not just to participate.

Kolkata, as the practice venue, has helped the archers immensely. The heavy humid conditions there were, similar to that of Beijing,'' she said.

The 28-year-old Dola said, ''I'm now shooting well. But it all will depend on that particular day. With competitions consisting 12 arrows now - earlier it was 18 - there's a little margin of error.

However, we all are doing well and can expect something.'' UNI HSB RAR PM1808

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