Women archers can make it count: India coaches
Indian coaches Purnima Mahato and Limba Ram confident of a good show from women archers ahead of the London Games.
London: Indian women archers have enough mental strength to create history at London Olympics as they have learned to soak in pressure, feel the two coaches accompanying the squad in the British capital.
"We're hoping to create Indian archery history. The girls have already shown their admirable skills, all they need to do is to keep their composure," says women's archery coach Purnima Mahato.
"Mental strength plays a very big role in archery, and these girls have shown that in ample measure, over the past two years," said Mahato, who has been striving to keep her wards away from the media glare in the world's biggest sporting extravaganza.
"India has never had such a strong archery team representing the country, and these girls have already proven their mettle in the past two years," she said.
Limba Ram, himself an archery Olympian and now a national coach, asserts that the current Indian women's team handles pressure quite well.
"They seem to make light of the mental pressure and that's a very critical factor in archery," said Limba Ram as Indian archers brace for their first practice session in the main Olympic competition arena at Lord's, the historic cricket ground named after Sir Thomas Lord.
The archers have been practising at the training area outside the main ground until now, but tomorrow they will have a feel of the place that has been traditionally linked to cricketing glory.
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 the year 1789 by the royal society for lovers of bows, which staged target days at Lord's.
Starting with the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, the Indian archers have carved out a niche for themselves. After the golden deeds at the Delhi Games, where India discovered its youngest archery star in Deepika Kumari, they went on to clinch a maiden Asian Games medal at Guangzhou and then continued the gallant show in the ensuing World Championships and the World Cup.
Teaming up with Chekrovolu Swuro and Laishram Bombayla Devi, teenager Deepika has provided India a glimpse of glory in the archery arena.
"The team has repeatedly stood up to match the deeds of world-class archers from South Korea and China. And now we are eager for the Olympic competition to get underway," said Mahato.
"In 2007, Lord's hosted an archery tournament that featured China and Great Britain that was won by the Indian women," she said.
That team did not feature Deepika, who is now the brightest prospect on the Indian horizon.
Deepika, who turned 18 last month, recently won the recurve event at the world championship in Turkey to prove her dazzling form ahead of the Olympics.
"We are now a stronger team, and confident of clinching a medal. These girls have showed consistency in their form," said Mahato.
"The Olympics are a big stage, but these girls have already proved themselves by consistently winning medals in so many tournaments," she said.