London: Indian archers, spearheaded by world number one Deepika Kumari who was touted as a strong medal prospect, produced a super flop show at the London Olympics and drew a blank in both team and individual competitions.
The hype around the archery event was immense ever since it was announced that the discipline would take place at the famed Lord's cricket ground.
The Indian team, however, failed to lift its performance at the historic cricket ground. It put up a tame and insipid display and missed a golden opportunity to popularise the game held at a venue where India have waged many a cricket battles against England and won its first World Cup title in 1983.
The entire lot of archers performed dismally over five days, and surrendered abjectly in individual and team events.
Shockingly, four of India's six archers failed to clear even the first hurdle.
The embarrassment started on day one of the event itself, when the men's team fared poorly and came last in the ranking round while the much fancied second-seeded women's outfit managed to survive the fate of their male counterparts and finished 9th in the ranking round.
The men's trio of Jayanta Talukdar, Tarundeep Rai and Rahul Banerjee combined for a score of 1969 on a day when defending champions Korea shattered the team world record with a tally of 2087 to lead the rankings.
The 18-year-old Deepika Kumari, a double gold winner at the Commonwealth Games two years ago in Delhi, led the women's team which fared no better, managing a lowly 1938 while favourites South Korea topped the rankings round with a score of 1993.
The Indian women's archery team was off target in crunch moments of the battle and bowed to a lower ranked Denmark by a point in a see-saw pre-quarterfinal battle.
The Ranchi girl failed to hit even a single perfect 10 in three sets against 37th ranked Amy Oliver of Great Britain. In fact, the one set that she won was also a result of a poor shot (hitting 4) by her British opponent Amy Oliver in the second round. She bowed out tamely by a margin of 6-2.
Deepika later blamed the strong wind for her loss, but most of the Indian archers failed miserably even in perfect weather conditions.
Chekrovolu Swuro lost a close battle in a shoot-off to USA's Jennifer Nichols, who hit her shot closer to the bull's eye after their scores were level.
The best performance came from the unfancied Bombayla Devi who made it to the pre-quarterfinals where she was edged out by Mexican Roman Aida.
The men's team had a horrible start in the individual event.
Talukdar was hammered by Jacob Wukie of the United States. He failed to win even a single set against a lower seeded Wukie who was in imperious form and at one point shot six straight 10s including three bull's eye.
Banerjee started well by knocking out his Mongolian opponent Jantsan Gantugs before losing to Poland' Rafal Dobrowolski while Rai wilted under the pressure and bowed out to South Korea's Kim Bubmin.
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