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

For the first time since the women's team made its Olympic debut in Athens 2004, India will not have representation at the Games.

Banerjee felt it was time to move on from the disappointment and pin hopes on Deepika Kumari winning a medal in the individual event.   -  Sandeep Saxena

Lack of experience could be the prime reason why the Indian women's recurve archery team missed Olympic qualification for the first time, felt former World Cup champion Dola Banerjee who said the troika should have featured another seasoned name along side Deepika Kumari.

"It's hard to believe, the women's team were favourites to win an Olympic medal and they could not even qualify," two-time Olympian Dola told PTI.

For the first time since the women's team made its Olympic debut in Athens 2004, India will not have representation at the Games after the trio of Deepika, Ankita Bhakat and Komalika Bari lost to lowly Colombia in its opening round of the Final Olympic Qualifier in Paris on Sunday.

Having qualified as second seed with Deepika shooting top individual score of 674 in the morning session, all hell broke loose in the elimination round as she shot a poor five to start off the second set.

ALSO READ | Indian women's archery team fails to clinch Tokyo Olympics quota

He inexperienced partners failed to make amend as India lost in straight sets with scores of 54, 49, 52.

"It's not that Colombia won by shooting well but our scores were way below their average shooting scores of 57-58 in practice. You just can't win with these scores at that level. Colombia took it easy once India shot 49 and failed to equalise in the second set."

After India had failed to qualify from the 2019 World Championships, the country made a solitary change to the side, bringing in left-handed Ankita Bhakat in place of the senior most Laishram Bombayala Devi.

"I can't say we would have qualified if we had Bom (Bombayala) but experience definitely counts. When you have two experienced archers one can make up for another's bad shot.

"But if a senior falters, juniors get more nervous. Ankita and Komalika had little experience at this level," Dola observed.

"I'm sure she (Deepika) will be feeling very bad but it's time to look forward, no point thinking about the past. She has a bright chance in both individual and mixed pair events, and who knows, we might win our first Olympic medal in Tokyo...," she said.

India will now have four archers in Tokyo, 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.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :