Rio de Janeiro, Aug 6 - India's women's archery team, comprising Deepika Kumar, L. Bombayala…
Deepika Kumari once again faltered under pressure to miss a target as India’s medal hope in the women’s team event received a big blow by finishing a lowly seventh in the archery qualification round of the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro on Friday.
Hours after Atanu Das impressed on his Olympic debut by finishing a creditable fifth in the individual section, India’s star archer Deepika Kumari put up one of her most consistent displays to finish a poor 20th with a score of 640 out of 720.
In her third Olympics, senior most Bombayla Devi Laishram shot 638 to finish 24th while Laxmirani Majhi finished a lowly 43rd with 614 points.
Eyeing their eighth gold from as many editions, Koreans lived up to their reputation with Choi Misun, Chang Hye Jin and Ki Bo Bae making it top three.
The three women archers wayward performance will affect their medal prospects in the team event where they got a ranking of seventh and open their campaign against Colombia who were ranked 10th.
A top four-finish would have given them a bye to the quarters but the Indian women’s team, who shot 1892 points together, will begin the elimination stage from the first round of 16 on August 7.
If they manage to advance, India may face second ranked Russia and third ranked China in their prospective quarters and semifinal clashes.
The double Commonwealth Games gold medalist led by one point after 30 arrows only to slip in the sixth end when she shot a poor 49 with scores of 9,9,8,8,8,7.
The worst happened in the last arrow of the seventh end when she drew a blank by completely missing the target.
Deepika raised her game from the next five ends by securing 13 perfect 10s from 30 arrows but it could only raise her ranking up to 20.
In the individual round, Deepika will face 45th ranked Kristine Esebua of Georgia, while Bombayla will take on 41st ranked Laurence Baldauff of Austria and Laxmirani’s first round challenger would be Alexandra Longova of Slovakia.
Earlier in the morning session, Indian archers campaign got off to a rousing start with a brilliant show in the morning session by Atanu Das in his maiden Olympics appearance.
Das showed fine composure and skill to bounce back from a poor start to finish fifth in the qualification round as archery got underway at Brazil’s historic Samba street here.
Lying a lowly 10th after first 36 arrows, the 24-year-old Kolkata lad turned it around in style in the final set of 36 arrows by shooting 23 perfect 10s including 10 closest to the centre to finish fifth with 683 out of the possible 720.
Das is the lone male member in the Indian archery team and compete only in the individual section as the men’s team had failed to qualify from the World Championship.
Leading the qualification round was two-time World champion Kim Woo-jin who shot 700, for a world record on the opening day of the XXXI Olympiad.
Das had troubled Woo-jin in the World Cup Stage 3 in Antalya earlier in June where he led the Korean heavyweight 4-0 before losing 5-6 for the individual bronze medal.
But his impressive finish meant that Das, who will begin his elimination round against lowly 60th ranked Jitbahadur Muktan of Nepal, will avoid the top seed Woo-jin till the semifinals in the 64-member draw.
Das has an easy draw till the quarterfinals and his prospective semifinal opponent may be the fourth ranked Dutch man Sjef van den Berg who won the World Cup individual gold in Shanghai.
Das’s promising finish also meant he was ahead of London 2012 silver medalist Takaharu Furukuwa, the Japanese finished seventh and are in the bottom half of the draw.
On a sunny day without any wind, Das taking mark for his first ever Olympics shot a promising 58 that included four perfect 10s including two closest to the centre (X) to match the Korean heavyweight who also had begun with 58 with an identical four perfect 10s.
But the inexperienced Indian struggled to get another perfect 10 in the second set of six arrows that yielded just 53 points with five 9s and one eight to slip from the fine start.
Das gradually improved and finished in style nine perfect 10s out of the last 12 arrows.