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Curtain raiser: Archers to kick start India's campaign at Rio Olympics

Rohan Raj | Updated on: 11 February 2017, 7:51 IST

With all eyes on the coveted 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio is set to host one of the most prestigious sporting events on the planet, with the organisers promising a glittering opening ceremony on Friday night (BST).

Emerging from the shadows of the shocking Russian doping scandal, concerns over Zika virus, water quality in numerous areas and a lack of security measures, an eye-catching curtain raiser will surely set the ball rolling for the mega event.

Amidst 206 countries gearing up to compete across 42 sports, the organisers of the curtain raiser in the Maracana stadium will have to match the hype created by glittering opening ceremonies in the past.

The opening ceremony in Athens (2004) was classical, Beijing (2008) was grandiose and London (2012) was smart with Brit humour written all over it. And, Rio will undoubtedly be under immense pressure to follow suit - especially with the budget cuts forced upon the organisers.

But, while an estimated three billion people will watch the opening ceremony, the Indian archers will give the highly-awaited spectacle a miss due to a hectic schedule. India's campaign at Rio Games will get underway with its archers in immediate action in the crucial ranking round on Day 1.

Having made a first round exit in London in 2012, the archers will begin their campaign with the men's individual and team ranking rounds, slated tomorrow morning, while the afternoon session will begin at 1pm (BST) when the women's individual and team rankings will take place.

The Indian archery squad comprises three female archers - Deepika Kumari, Laxmirani Majhi and Bombayla Devi alongside sole male archer Atanu Das.

Women's individual and team event

The three female archers will compete in the women's individual as well as team events. Currently ranked fourth, the Indian women's team is one of the big medal hopes for India. The trio will surely be looking to redeem themselves after their unsatisfactory performance at the London Olympics in 2012.

Touted as the prodigal daughter of Indian archery, all eyes will be on Deepika Kumari who will be expected to deliver in both individual and team events. Deepika qualified for the Olympics by scoring 686/720 in the women's recurve event of the 2015 Archery World Cup to equal the earlier world record set by South Korea's Bo-Bae.

Her teammate, Bombayla Devi, is a two-time Olympian and will be under immense pressure considering the Rio Games would probably be her last chance to bag an Olympic medal. Set for her Olympic debut, the 27-year-old Laxmirani Majhi won a silver medal at the 2015 World Archery Championship to qualify for the Games.

Men's individual event

Atanu Das is the lone Indian archer who'll be seen competing in the men's individual event. With a world ranking of 22, the 24-year-old may not be best placed to bag a medal, but a spot in the final round could be a possible target. He overcame stern competition from some of India's finest archers and former Olympians Jayanta Talukdar and Mangal Singh Champia in the national trials to book his Rio berth.

The Kolkata-born archer is a talented youngster whose debut at the Olympic Games at Rio will be crucial for his budding career. Whether he is able to bag a medal or not, Atanu is certain to come out of the Olympics a better player.

First published: 5 August 2016, 6:12 IST
Rohan Raj @ro4an_raj

After a poor stint in gully-cricket quashed his hopes of turning pro, Rohan moved away from the playing field and began criticising those who were still on it. Football eases his mind and watching City paint Manchester blue is his elusive dream. When not talking, thinking or dreaming about sports, Rohan can be found listening to EDM or watching movies. A sports correspondent at Catch News, he has previously worked with Hindustan Times, Daily Bhaskar and India Today.