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London feel in Gangtok

- Windy hills to test Deepika

If you want to win in London, aim in Gangtok.

That is the winning mantra given to Jharkhand’s golden girl Deepika Kumari. The ace charger, who has added extra poundage to her imported recurve bow for a steadier aim despite winds, will now head for the Himalayan state of Sikkim to practise in what experts believe are conditions similar to that of London Olympics.

The 18-year-old archery sensation, being touted as an Olympic medal prospect, will join the national coaching camp in Sikkim from May 16.

Archery experts believed that the training camp could not have come at a better time as the weather in Sikkim’s Gangtok — cold and windy — would help Deepika test her new bow and get a feel of London weather.

Speaking to The Telegraph on Monday, India women’s archery coach Purnima Mahto said that camp was primarily aimed at helping the archers acclimatise to Olympic conditions.

“The archers have got used to attending national camps in Calcutta. But now, we have a new place to train them. Here, weather conditions will be similar to that of London. I am sure the camp will help archers,” Purnima said.

Deepika, along with Laishram Bombayala Devi and Chekrovolu Swuro, has already qualified for Olympics. Jamshedpur’s Jayanta Talukdar, the lone Indian archer so far to have qualified in the men’s category, will also be at the camp.

Purnima, a six-time national champ, said she had faith in Deepika and the others.

“I am very hopeful of an Olympic medal. Deepika has been in a nice groove. We hope to bag a medal in the team event at least,” she said.

“Deepika is in fine form. The individual recurve gold in Antalya earlier this month will boost her confidence level,” said the teen archer’s mentor Dharmendra Tiwary.

Purnima, who seemed extremely pleased with Deepika’s gold-winning performance at the Cup (Stage II) in Antalya, Turkey, said the archer was peaking at the right time. “She has been shooting her best. I believe the extra poundage in her bow is helping her shoot with more accuracy and preventing arrows from changing path due to wind,” the coach said.

She added that the Gangtok camp would be vital for Rahul Banerjee and Tarundeep Rai. Both have not qualified for Oympics and would take a last shot at berths at the World Cup (Stage III) qualifiers in Ogden from June 18-24.

Deepika and Jayanta had also undergone a special training stint in South Korea, thanks to Tata Steel.


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