| London: India could open their account in the London Olympics as early as Saturday as their archers are primed for their first ever Olympic medal where they begin their challenge on the morning of the opening ceremony here Friday.
Spearheaded by world No.1 Deepika Kumari, 18, a medal in all four events can be expected from the six-member outfit.
Before the world witnesses the $42 million opening ceremony of the 30th Olympic Games Friday night, the India men and women archers will be aiming for the bulls eye in the ranking round of the team event at the iconic Lord`s cricket ground.
India could open its medal tally at London as early as Saturday when the medal round of the team championships is scheduled.
All eyes will be on the World No.2 women`s team of Deepika, Chekrovolu Swuro and Bombayala Devi as they are India`s best bet for a medal. The trio stunned fancied South Korea to finish second in the 2011 World Championship, which also helped them qualify for the London Games.
"We have done whatever we could during training. But you can`t fully prepare for a sport like archery. You never know how the conditions would be on a particular day. To win an Olympic medal is a dream for all of us and we are keeping our fingers crossed," said Deepika, who has become the centre of attraction after reaching the top spot in the FITA rankings.
The men`s team of Tarundeep Rai, Rahul Banerjee and Jayanta Talukdar, too, is capable of a podium finish. The fact that the World No.3 team qualified for the Olympics at the 11th hour will give them a push to rise to the occasion.
Besides Bombayala, Tarundeep is the only one who has Olympic experience. With the current venue being Lord`s, the Athens 2004 participant is hoping the hallowed stadium will bring them success as it did to the cricket World Cup winning team in 1983. The men will have to battle with their counterparts from Ukraine, the US, France, South Korea and China.
The individual round will kick-off Sunday and the whole of India will be pinning hopes on Deepika. She has been in top form and recently won the World Cup in Antalya, Turkey.
The archery competitions get underway with the ranking rounds in which every archer (64 men and 64 women) will shoot 72 arrows to determine their seedings for both the individual and team competitions.
The top scorer will be seeded No 1 and will meet No 64 in the first individual elimination rounds on Monday. The cumulative scores of the team members will decide the seedings for the team events on Saturday and Sunday.
First Published: Friday, July 27, 2012, 09:02