Indian archers, shooters in the spotlight

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Indian archers and shooters in the spotlight
London, Jul 27: A clutch of young archers and a host of experienced marksmen would aim to boost the meagre medal haul that India has reaped from the Olympic arena when competitions in these two disciplines gather pace on Saturday after Friday's opening of the London Olympics 2012.

Olympics Special

The focus of millions of Indian sports followers would be trained on the country's top woman archer and world no. 1 Deepika Kumari who will spearhead the challenge in the medal rounds of the recurve event on Sunday along with squad mates Bombayla Devi and Chekrovolu Swuro.

The trio booked the quota places, upsetting defending champions Korea to make their maiden entry into the World Championship final, but only to lose to the Italians in the gold medal clash at Turin last year.

Archery events commenced today at the iconic Lord's Cricket Ground with the ranking rounds for teams and the 18-year-old Ranchi-born Deepika is looked upon keenly as the person to lead the surge to improve the country's meagre medal haul in eight decades of participation.

The country's tally has stood at nine gold medals (comprising eight in men's hockey and rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra), 1 silver (trap shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore) and five bronze medals before the Games.

The only woman medallist from India in over eight decades of Olympic appearance has been weightlifter Karnam Malleswari, 12 years ago at Sydney, and the 18-year-old Jharkhand girl and her teammates could follow in the Andhra woman's footsteps if they climb the podium here on Sunday in the team championship.

However, the former world junior champion and gold medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, and her teammates would have to bear the burden of huge expectations in order to achieve their Olympic dream.

For only the second time since the 2004 Athens Games that Indian archers have been able to earn the maximum of six quota places for the Olympics and the team will also look forward to strong challenge from the corresponding men's team whose medal round is scheduled tomorrow.

PTI

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