London: Indian archers got their first feel of the hallowed turf at Lord`s, cricket`s most famous venue where the Olympic archery competition will be staged.
The cricket link was prominently emphasised as Australian World Cup winning skipper Steve Waugh returned to the venue of one of his biggest triumphs as he sought to lift the profile of archery in his new role as an athlete liaison officer for wielders of the bow and arrow.
The sun came out bright and the warm day provided a perfect setting for the archers to get a feel of the place, and the wind was not there to trouble the archers as it had done over practice at the outside venue over the past few days.
The significance of training at Lord`s was not lost on anyone, not just the Indians.
"We`re really happy to be playing at the centre of Lord`s," said Rahul Banerjee, a member of the Indian men`s team that fancies itself to get on the podium if they maintain their form.
Banerjee said like the rest of India, he too followed cricket and has watched action from Lord`s on television.
"Sachin Tendulkar is my cricketing hero and I have watched many Test matches that have been played here," Banerjee said after the team`s familiarisation session in the centre.
They will only return to the centre of the Lord`s arena for the competition now.
"It`s really good to get some experience on the main field, and it went really well," he said.
"This ground is historic. If we win a medal here, it will be even more historic for us."
The venue is synonymous with cricket, but archery has played a part in its history.
An archery event was first staged at Lord`s more than 300 years ago.
An archery competition was held at the old Lord`s ground in 1789 by the Royal Society for Lovers of Bows, which staged target days at Lord`s.
In 2007, the Indian women won an archery tournament at Lord`s, but that was not staged in the centre.
The cricket angle became more pronounced today as Waugh returned to the venue of his 1999 World Cup triumph, and soon got into the archery mood with a special crash course.
Waugh said he hoped to raise the profile of archery.
"The great thing about the Olympics and archery being at Lord`s is that it will raise the profile," said Waugh.
He said it was hard to get attention for minor sport back home in Australia.
"It would be a great sport for kids to get involved with. Lord`s as an archery venue was different," Waugh said.
"I never thought I would see it like this and I`m sure the MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) members didn`t either," said Waugh, who felt it would also help Lord`s in some way.
"It increases the profile of Lord`s across the world," asserted Waugh, who said his archery marksmanship would improve after today`s crash course.