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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Deepika leads Indian archers' Olympic dream

Kolkata: With world number one Deepika Kumari spearheading the campaign, the in-form Indian archers would aim for a perfect 10 when they pick up their bows and arrows to seek Olympic glory at the ‘spiritual home of cricket’ — the hallowed turf of Lord’s Stadium in London.This is only the second time since 2004 Athens Games, when Indian archers have been able to earn the maximum of six quota places for the Olympics and powered by Deepika’s sublime form, the team will look for podium finishes in at least two of the four events in London.The 18-year-old Deepika shot to fame when she won her first international medal, becoming the cadet world champion in Ogden 2009. The Ranchi girl has not looked back ever since.Daughter of an autorickshaw driver, the teenager emerged as the biggest archery sensation when she won the Commonwealth gold medal in Delhi 2010.Deepika continued to dominate her age group as she won the junior world title in 2011, while recently she showed her top form when she won the World Cup Stage II gold in Antalya beating South Korea’s Lee Sung Jin.A media-shy Deepika’s rise to the No 1 in world rankings — only second from India after Dola Banerjee — also could not have come at a better time as she now chases India’s Olympic glory at individual and team events.”She is definitely our best bet in the women’s section for a medal in the individual event,” national coach Limba Ram told PTI, asserting that they were aiming for two medals.”Her progress graph is impressive. In past two years, she has beaten some of the big names including the world champion Koreans,” he added.Women’s team coach Purnima Mahato, who has been with the archer since it all began, said: “Deepika is fearless, confident and stays cool under pressure cooker situation. We have strong hope on her.”The women’s recurve team comprising Deepika, Bombayla Devi and Chekrovolu Swuro secured the Olympic quota berths at the World Championships in Turin last year. PTI

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