National Archery Ch'ships: Sukhmani Babrekar takes lead on opening day

Sukhmani Babrekar gathered 325 points in the first round of shooting for 70m and followed it up with 330 to stay ahead of accomplished names like Pravin Jadhav (653) and Tarundeep Rai (652)

Sukhmani Babrekar is a World youth championships silver medallist. (Representative Image)   -  AFP

Defending champion Sukhmani Babrekar defied windy conditions to aggregate 655 points and lead the men's recurve ranking round on the opening day of the National archery championships at the Barabati Stadium here on Sunday.

The 19-year-old Maharashtra archer, a World youth championships silver medallist, gathered 325 points in the first round of shooting for 70m and followed it up with 330 to stay ahead of accomplished names like Pravin Jadhav (653) and Tarundeep Rai (652) of Services.

“I concentrated on shooting without bothering about the wind. My training ground back in Amaravati is also windy, I am used to such conditions,” said Babrekar, who had registered his best score of 669 in the selection trials in Rohtak in late January.

“I was 10 in the ranking round in the previous Nationals. My shooting has improved. I am finding a better angle and have more power now.”

Olympian Atanu Das also recorded 325 in his first round but slipped in the second to collect 317 and take the ninth spot.

Among other experienced archers, Vishwash (645) was fifth, Sukhchain Singh (644) seventh and Mangal Singh Champia (640) was 12.

Jayanta Talukdar, who made a comeback of sorts following a shoulder injury, overcame the snapping of his bow string in his first shot to total 631 and place 29.

Olympian L. Bombayala Devi accumulated 642 points to emerge as the top ranked woman recurve archer for the individual elimination round.

Bombayala, who trained with the Railways team in Kolkata, scored 329 in the opening round before managing 313 points in the second 70m round due to unpredictable wind.

“Everybody thinks I am making a comeback after my marriage. But I have been in training and competing. My shooting is fine at present,” said Bombayala.

Ankita Bhakat (639) and Preeti (628) took the next two spots.

Ace archer Deepika Kumari (622) was fifth following a below-par second round which fetched only 296 points.

Organisational issues affected the first day's schedule as the local organisers consumed several hours for the opening ceremony at the cost of three team finals.