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Indian archers hope for fresh start after Olympic qualification debacle

A full-strength India women’s recurve team will look to pick up pieces after failing to make the Olympic cut as they gear up for the Archery World Cup (Stage 3) beginning here on Tuesday.

The fancied Indian women’s team of Deepika Kumari, Ankita Bhakat and Komalika Bari lost to lower-ranked Colombia in straight sets to make a shock second-round exit in the Final Olympic qualifier here on Sunday.

As a result, India will not have a women’s team in next month’s Olympics for the first time since it made its debut in Athens in 2004.

In Tokyo, India thus will have four archers with the men’s team of Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das and Pravin Jadhav, while Deepika will be the sole entry in the women’s section, in her third successive Olympics.

Not long ago, the same women’s trio had won the World Cup gold in the first stage at the Guatemala City in April as they will be determined to make up for their tame loss.

India did not have any compound team at the first stage but in its absence the recurve archers came up with their best show in a World Cup, winning three gold medals and one bronze from Guatemala City.

READ: Dola Banerjee: Hard to believe Indian women’s team did not make Tokyo Olympics cut

Returning to the World Cup after almost two years, the Indian women’s team had a perfect outing as it bounced back from behind to stun giants Mexico in the shoot-off for the gold medal, the women’s team first medal since 2014.

Archer couple Atanu Das and Deepika later went on to win individual medals as well to reign supreme in the first stage.

The tournament will be the last tournament before the Olympics in a month as the Indian men’s team and Deepika will look to make the most out of it to bolster their confidence ahead of Tokyo Games.

India will also have participation from the compound team with the duo of Abhishek Verma and Jyothi Surekha Vennam spearheading the challenge in the men’s and women’s sections respectively.

The compound team failed to compete in Guatemala City under unfortunate circumstances following their coach’s false positive report for COVID-19.

This will be its first competition since the Asian Championships in Bangkok in November 2019 as the compound team will look to make the most out of it.

Indian squad Recurve Men: Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das, Pravin Jadhav and Dhiraj B; Recurve Women: Deepika Kumari, Ankita Bhakat, Komalika Bari and Madhu Vedwan.

Compound Men: Abhishek Verma, Rajat Chauhan and Aman Saini; Compound Women: Jyoti Surekha Vennam, Pragati, Akshita and Saanchi Dhalla.

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