India in their hearts, archer quartet leave for Asiad

Deepika & laxmirani exude confidence, ankita & madhumita show resolve

By Jayesh Thaker in Jamshedpur
  • Published 15.08.18
AIM HIGHER: Deepika Kumari during a practice session at JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur

Jamshedpur: Three women archers from Jharkhand, and another from Bengal but trained here, will aim for bullseye at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia, from August 18 to September 2.

Archers Deepika Kumar, Ankita Bhakat, Laxmirani Majhi (recurve) and Madhumita Kumari (compound), part of the national women's archery squad for Asian Games, boarded their Jakarta fight from Delhi on Tuesday evening. They reached Delhi from Pune, where they were training at an Archery Association of India at Army Sports Institute, in the afternoon.

Deepika and Laxmirani, who have participated in Olympics, are looking to use all their experience to excel on a big stage. Ankita and Madhumita did concede they were a tad nervous ahead of the Asian sporting extravaganza.

A veretan in international events, Deepika, 24, who claimed women's recurve gold at the 7th Hyundai World Cup Stage 3 at Salt Lake City in the US this June, said she would use her experience for a podium finish.

"I am heading to Indonesia in a confident frame of mind," Jharkhand's arguably best-known archer, who was a part of Team India in both London and Rio Olympics, said. "Will try my level best," said the Ranchi girl and TAA Jamshedpur alumna who at age 15 shot into global limelight as cadet world champion and followed it up with more triumphs but underwhelmed in her Olympic outings.

"I think I have regained my form. The Pune camp went off well," Deepika, now looking at a career revival, said.

Laxmirani from Ghatshila in East Singhbhum, who went to Rio Olympics, said she wanted to make her country proud. " I think I am shooting well. My confidence is high. Asiad is a big stage and every archer wants to excel," the 29-year-old railway employee said.

Ankita, 20, a cadet of Tata Archery Academy (TAA) in Jamshedpur who hails from Bengal, told this paper from Delhi that she was both "a bit nervous and also confident". "I worked hard at the preparatory camp. My shooting posture and grip have improved. I will try my best to bag a medal for India."

Ramgarh girl Madhumita, who trained at Birsa Munda Archery Academy in Silli, also said she was nervous but would try to be calm during the Asiad. " Thodi baichaini toh hai par usko control kar lungi (There is some anxiety but I will control it)," the 20-year-old compound archer said.

Jamshedpur-based coach Purnima Mahto, a Dronacharya awardee who has trained Deepika, Lakshmirani and Ankita, said the recurve archers were expected to do well but the competition would be very tough. "It's very difficult to predict anything at this stage, but I am hopeful," the TAA mentor said.

Majhi Sawaiya, coach of the recurve team, agreed archers would face tough competition but added they had prepared well. "It is a good Indian unit but our archers stand to face stiff competition. Deepika, Laxmirani and Ankita shot well during the Pune camp. Hope they continue in the same vein," Sawaiya, an ex-Olympian who originally hails from Chaibasa and works for the army, said.