Bull's eye holds Dola's total focus

Experienced archer determined to make most of home advantage

Bull's eye holds Dola's total focus

The 30-year-old Bengal recurve archer will spearhead the women’s team in the October 3-14 mega event. Though powerhouses South Korea are not in the fray, Dola still have to beat the challenge of the English and Australian archers if she entertains hopes of standing on the podium.

“Winning a medal for the country in front of the home crowd is a special feeling. The South Koreans are not here but it won’t be easy for me. There are a lot of other good archers in the competition,” said Dola.

Dola feels the CWG is a good opportunity to show her mettle in front of her countrymen. “There will be pressure when you compete at home. But I like to think of it as an advantage. The crowd support will clearly give us an edge over the rivals,” said Dola.

“We got two weeks’ time to train at the Yamuna Sports Complex, the venue for the meet. In the test event also we did well, so our confidence levels are high. We are expecting to get four to five medals,” added Dola.

With the sport making a return to the CWG after the 1982 Brisbane Games, Dola said she was raring to go. “We are lucky to have archery after a long time at the Games. We are looking forward to the start of the competition,” said the 2005 Arjuna Award winner.
Her 15 years of experience in the sport would come in handy for her younger team-mates like Deepika Kumari, who will be looking for motivation from Dola.

Dola’s childhood dream was to become a good singer but her father had different plans as he enrolled her in the Baranagar Archery Club at the age of nine. She later joined the Tata Archery Academy in Jamshedpur, where she fine-tuned her skills to become a world-class archer.

"My aim was to become a singer. But my father put me into archery. Iit was difficult and boring for me at first. But now I think what he did then was right for me," Dola said, recalling her early days in the sport.

It took Dola seven years to make her breakthrough. She donned the India colours for the first time at the World Youth Championship in San Diego in 1996. Eight years later, Dola created history by becoming the first woman archer from the country to qualify for the Olympic Games in Athens. “Athens Olympics was as a great Games for me and after that, things started working in my favour,” Dola said.

She didn’t look back, winning the gold medals in the European GP at Antayala in 2005 before claiming the title at the Commonwealth Championship in New Delhi.

In 2007, Dola won the World Cup (Stage IV) in Dover, England and World Cup final. Last year, she won the fifth Asian GP in Dhaka. Dola represented India in the women's individual as well as team events at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. “I am working towards my biggest dream, winning an Olympic gold. But now, my focus is to give my best at the CWG and the Asian Games,” Dola said.

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