India archers brave fever to train at Lord`s

Updated: Jul 23, 2012, 17:45 PM IST

London: They may be down with mild fever due to change in climate a week into their stay here, but that has failed to stop the Indian archers from visiting the Lord`s everyday to get acclimatised to the windy conditions ahead of the Olympics.

Braving the cold conditions, the Indian archers, who were one of the early entrants at the village, are heading every day to Lord`s, where they have been allowed to practice in the outside arena meant for training.

"There was some illness in the squad, and that was because of the change in climate," conceded Indian archer Tarundeep Rai.

"I am the only person who is not suffering a little, but I am scared. So I am protecting myself.

"At home the weather was very hot and there was humidity as well. Out here, the temperature was around 20 degrees Celsius when we landed, but the effect has been temporary and we`re now enjoying the weather," he added.

The archers will get just an odd chance to practice at the main archery arena ahead of the Olympics.

"That`s where the challenge lies for all archers," said archery coach Limba Ram, an Olympian from the 90s.

Cricket-loving archer Rai hoped Lord`s will prove lucky for the Indian archers as a rub-off from the success the Indian cricket team has occasionally enjoyed at the venue -- that is known as the "Mecca of Cricket" -- will now host the Olympic archery competition.

"I love cricket and it`ll be a wonderful feeling to compete at Lord`s," says Rai, who is part of the strongest Indian archery team India has ever fielded and have an outside chance of clinching an Olympic medal.

"Before coming here, I thought that Lord`s had been a lucky ground for the Indian cricket team in the past. I am hoping it will continue with archery," said Rai.

"It is a great opportunity for the archers to come and play at this venue," said Rai, adding that Lord`s as a venue could even boost the sport`s image back home in India.

"We do not have many spectators in our national competitions, so I am hoping that the television pictures of archery at Lord`s should change the profile of our sport in India," he said.

Rai said the Indian archers were expecting support from Indian spectators who live in London. He felt Lord`s as a venue may attract them to archery.

"May be they`ll just come to see Lord`s decked up as an archery venue, and then witness archery also," he said. "Back home in India also, some people may watch the archery because it will be staged at Lord`s."

After the success at the Commonwealth Games, the confidence of the Indian archers has received a big boost and now they are hopeful of achieving greater heights at the Olympic Games.

Led by the promising exploits of teenaged woman archer Deepika Kumari, who recently won the world title in Turkey, the Indian archers are promising a good show in women`s recurve (individual and team events) and also the men`s team competition.