Our archers are hungry for success: Limba Ram
Kolkata: Hit by flu on arrival, the Indian archers have got used to the unpredictable weather in London and are now eagerly awaiting the start of the Olympics in which they aim to win their first-ever medal, national coach Limba Ram said.
A three-time Olympian himself, the 40-year-old is travelling to the Games as a coach for the first time.
At the Barcelona Games in 1992, he missed the bronze medal by a whisker, losing to none other than the Korean heavyweights with a heartbreaking one-point margin.
"That is sport. Win is a win and a loss is a loss, no matter by how many points. That loss still rankles me. But I`ve something to prove -- through my wards this time," Limba told PTI in an interview.
The coach said the six-member Indian team is firmly focused on winning.
"I can just say that they are hungry. In my three years coaching career, I`ve never seen them such hungry. I`m not saying we will win these many golds but we would return with our heads held high," Limba, who had predicted three medals from the archery event, added.
Asked about their preparation in the final leg, he said, "They have adjusted well to the conditions in London. We had a few teething trouble with the unpredictable weather in sharp contrast to what we had in India.
"But now, we are all fit and raring to go for our event Friday (individual and team ranking rounds). At this point, I`m not telling them to something special."
The ranking round will be held in Friday at the Nursery Ground at Lord`s and the medal round will be held in the main stadium on Saturday.
"They have reached their peak when they returned to winning ways at the World Cup Stage III (earlier this month) and bagged India the quota places in the last Olympic qualification round. We just have to hold on to the momentum," he said of the former no 1 men`s team who is currently no 2 in FITA rankings.
The squad boasts of reigning world no 1 Deepika who will lead the women`s challenge, while the experience of Athens Olympian Rai and Beijing Games-returned Bombayla would come in handy.
Besides the men`s team, Limba has high hopes on Deepika, who had sore throat when she left for London, but is completely fit now.
"Deepika is also at her peak. She has age in her side and is very energetic. She never gives up and fight till the last arrow. She is our main hope in the individual, while women`s team also stand a chance."
Limba`s contract with the Archery Association of India gets over after the Olympics.
"I don`t know what`s next for me... I`ve not thought about it yet. Probably I would go back to develop archery in my home state happily of my squad of getting India the first medal," the Rajasthani coach said.
Limba is accompanied by Army coach Naib Subedar Ravi Shankar from Jharkhand.
"It`s really a proud moment to represent India at a time when we are aiming for a medal," Ravi said.
He said Deepika is in perfect shape while Jayanta Talukdar and Rahul Banerjee have recovered from a sore throat.
"It`s good that we came here more than a week in advance. Now we all are fit. We are just keeping our fingers crossed, waiting for the big day," he said.