'We have a great chance to make history'

Indian archers may be revelling in the glory of making the Olympic cut for the first time since 2004 but there is one man in the contingent who prefers to keep his emotions in check.  Team coach and former archer Limba Ram has experienced the big stage and realises that you need more than guts to win a medal. He opines that this time history may be in the making.

While Deepika Kumari remains the best bet among the archers, Limba Ram believes Jayanta Talukdar, Rahul Banerjee, Tarundeep Rai, Laishram Bombayala Devi and Chekrovolu Swuro, too, have equally good chances in the individual and team events.

For Limba Ram, who agonisingly missed a bronze medal by one point in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, it is important that the current bunch of archers do not make the same mistake. He insists they all have a ‘golden chance’ to win the first Indian medal in archery.

“I keep telling them from my experience. What happened in Barcelona was unfortunate. It will be different this time.  The archers have prepared well and worked on the technical points,” Limba Ram assured.

Limba Ram, who equalled an archery world record in the 1992 Asian Championships, was full of praise for young Deepika.  “She is at her peak. She is young and energetic. She is fearless. She does not take pressure.  Her concentration is amazing. She is disciplined when it comes to training. This will definitely help her on the big stage,” he raves about Deepika.

“She is definitely the best among the lot and I am expecting a medal from her.” Limba Ram, however, is a tad concerned about her fitness.  “She was having flu and that has made her physically weak. She is facing a bit of problem in shooting against the wind. That has been a minor setback. Let’s hope she recovers before the Games,” he said.

Others also have the potential to make a mark in London. “Bombayala is shooting well. Chekrovolu was having problems shooting against the wind but she is fine now. Among men, Jayanta and Tarundeep are in good form. Jayanta has done well recently and can do very well at London.”

Limba Ram hopes their advance arrival at the Games village will keep them in good stead. "The weather will be very different from Kolkata, where we were training. The weather in London favours the Europeans. But we have 10 days to adjust. We will be ready by the time the events start.”

The archery competition takes place at Lords’, the venue where India won the 1983 World Cup.  Limba Ram is hopeful it turns out to be lucky for the archers as well. “Yes, it is a good omen. We hope the archers will do as well and take inspiration from the Indian cricket team’s victory,” he signs off.

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