The on-going World Archery Championship in Copenhagen is the primary qualifier for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. On the team-elimination day on July 28, 2015, India’s recurve women’s team of Deepika Kumari, Laxmi Rani Majhi and Rimil Buriuly showed tremendous standing power by beating Germany and by making it to the last eight, the trio qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. It wasn’t an easy victory since the Indian team trailed 1-3 in the first set. But they held their nerves and turned the tables on the German women to register a thrilling 5-3 victory. But in the men’s event, Rahul Banerjee, Mangal Singh Champia and Jayanta Talukdar couldn’t capitalize on their solid early 4-2 lead and failed against the second seeded Italians, who edged them out.
Including the Indian women’s archery team, first eight team places were awarded on Tuesday in recurve and the same number for men’s recurve, except that Indian men couldn’t make the grade. The first round victories brought cheers to many nations but Indian women deserve special mention since they had to work really hard against the German team, which had the Baku 2015 gold medalist Karina Winter in their rank. Germany was seeded seventh but lost in the shoot-off after leading 3-1 in early stages. In the first set, the German team of Karina Winter, Elena Richter and Lisa Unruh dominated the Indians as they won 46-59. But the Indian trio bounced back in the second set 5-5 to level the scores. The Germans, however, made the scores 3-3 in the third set by pulling off a thrilling 51-50 finish. But just when it mattered most, Deepika and her teammates produced their best performance and secured the last set 53-52, which helped them pocket the game. Coached by Poornima Mahto, the women’s team thus ensured that they go to the 2016 Rio Olympics with such an impressive win over a competent adversary. In the quarterfinal, the Indian women’s team will face Colombia.
But India suffered a reverse in men’s recurve. The experienced team of Rahul Banerjee, Mangal Singh Champia and Jayanta Talukdar suffered a heartbreak as they squandered a 4-2 lead before losing 26-29 to second seed Italy in a thrilling tiebreaker. However, Banerjee, Talukdar and Champia can still earn individual berths by finishing among 32 when the individual section gets underway later tonight. India’s men were comfortably placed against the Italians until the very end. They lead 4-2 before the deciding set began. In an unusual error by Mangal Singh Champia, the Italians got their chance and leveled the score 4-4. That opened the door for the Italians. A shoot-off was required to finalize the winner. Then everything came down to Rahul Banerjee, who needed to shoot a nine to ensure the Olympic qualification for India’s men’s recurve team. But Banerjee could only make it seven and India lost. To add further woes to India, the men and women’s team suffered losses in the compound team events. The men’s team lost to Denmark 232-224 in the quarterfinals, while the women archers lost to South Africa.