Dola, Satyadev take the honours

IT was back to back victories for both Satyadev Prasad of Uttar Pradesh and Dola Banerjee of Jharkhand in the second National ranking archery prize money circuit tournament at the Sports Authority of India.

S. SABANAYAKANS. SABANAYAKAN

The champions: Dola Banerjee and Satyadev Prasad. — Pic. S. PATRONOBISH-

IT was back to back victories for both Satyadev Prasad of Uttar Pradesh and Dola Banerjee of Jharkhand in the second National ranking archery prize money circuit tournament at the Sports Authority of India, Eastern Centre. In underlining their stature as the numero uno in the country, the two would be high on the list of Indian hopes for a place in the next Olympic Games.

Having won the first circuit meet at Pune earlier this year, the two were the most consistent of 44 men and 17 women who qualified for the championship. Six more such meets have been planned by the Archery Association of India (AAI). It remains to be seen how the others would push the most successful and decorated duo.

The AAI had been experimenting with many ways to improve the standard of archery in the country. Numerous camps were planned in the past with either Indian or foreign coaches involved. Yet, nothing much could be realised except for both Dola Banerjee and Satyadev Prasad making it to the quarterfinals of the Asian Games archery competition.

Since the AAI had decided to expose the archers to more competition, the only way to strengthen the temperament of a sportsperson, the prize money series was given shape. It was expected that the National body would rope in a corporate house to support the game but the effort is yet to fructify.

With every passing day, Dola had not only been improving but winning consistently with high scores. The same could not be said about Prasad, though his overall superiority among men could not be discounted. Veteran Muni Ram Tirkey of the Army Sports Institute (ASI) and National champion Shivnath Nagesia of Andhra Pradesh and a clutch of ASI, UP and AP archers had been achieving scores in excess of 1250 points in the FITA round. There were 18 scores over 1250 points in the men's section, but sadly there was only one score over 1300. Only Tirkey could reach 1315 points with Prasad and Acharya Ved Kumar of Ordnance a close second with 1299. It had been the effort of the AAI to get as many archers as possible to go beyond the 1300 barrier.

The picture in the women's side makes depressing reading. Dola hit a high of 1321 after having done 1334, a National record, at the Pune meet. Chekrovolu Swuro of AP was a distant second with a total of 1256. There were just five ladies out of a total of 17 who went beyond the 1250 mark. And only Dola looked anywhere near world standard. The good sign, of course, was that UP and AP had taken up women's archery in right earnest.

The AAI introduced a league system in the circuit meets to make the competition keener. Two groups of 16 men archers competed in a round robin basis after the FITA round. Once the 1 to 32 ranking was completed, the 32 went into the Olympic round knockout to decide the individual winner. In the women's section, 16 archers participated in the round-robin league. Prasad qualified to the Olympic round as No. 4 out of 32 from the round-robin league. Prasad eliminated K. Seetharamudu, Mangal Singh and N. Ravinder, all AP archers, before reaching the final. In the summit clash, he outshot Gurucharan Besra of ASI 112 to 101 and won the first prize of Rs. 20,000. Ravinder beat Asian junior champion Jayanta Talukdar of Jharkhand 110-109 points to take the third spot.

For Dola it was far easier. The reigning National champion conquered Manisha and Mandavi Sharma, both of U.P., before ousting B. Bhagyabati Chanu of Manipur in the semifinals. Junior Sumangala Sharma of U.P. did not prove a match in the final. The result was an 111-105 score in favour of Dola and a purse of Rs. 20,000. Sumangala took home Rs. 15,000. Bhagyabati caimed the third place beating Sakro Besra of Jharkhand 106-87.

The Olympic round had always provided big surprises. Some of the big names lost early and that included Tirkey, ranked No. 1. He fell to Ravinder in the pre-quarterfinals at 164-165. Limba Ram, fighting to stay in the limelight in the company of youngsters, went out in the round of 32 to Rajesh Hansda of ASI at 160-159. Junior talent Jayanta Talukdar of Jharkhand removed Kapil at 166-157 also in the first round. Ved Kumar and Prabhat Kumar of ASI tied their first round clash at 157 before the armyman clinched the issue in the tie-breaker.

The results:

Olympic round, men's final: Satyadev Prasad (U.P.) 112 bt Gurucharan Besra (ASI) 101. For 3rd & 4th places: N. Ravinder (A.P.) 110 bt Jayanta Talukdar (Jhar) 109. Semifinals: Prasad 108 bt Ravinder 105; Besra 107 bt Talukdar 104.

Women's final: Dola Banerjee (Jhar) 111 bt Sumangala Sharma (U.P.) 105. For 3rd & 4th places: B. Bhagyabati Chanu (Mani) 106 bt Sakro Besra (Jhar) 87. Semifinals: Dola 108 bt Bhagyabati 100; Sumangala 101 bt Sakro 94.

FITA round men, 10 positions (read as 90m, 70, 50, 30 and total): 1. Muni Ram Tirkey (ASI) 307, 326, 328, 354 - 1315 points, 2. Satyadev Prasad (UP) 298, 321, 328, 352 - 1299, 3. Ved Kumar (OFSCB) 299, 325, 327, 348 - 1299, 4. Shivnath Nagesia (AP) 310, 311, 329, 348 - 1298, 5. Mangal Singh (AP) 289, 322, 327, 349 - 1287, 6. Tarundeep Rai (ASI) 303, 317, 318, 342 - 1280, 7. Majhi Sawayan (ASI) 301, 306, 324, 348 - 1279, 8. Viswash (ASI) 287, 327, 314, 350 - 1278, 9. Harish Chand Kerai (ASI) 288, 324, 317, 347 - 1276, 10. Chungda Sherpa (ASI) 305, 312, 312, 347 - 1276.

Women, five positions (read as 70, 60, 50, 30m and total): 1. Dola Banerjee (Jhar) 322, 328, 323, 348 - 1321 points, 2. Chekrovolu Swuro (AP) 297, 306, 324, 329 - 1256, 3. Reena Kumari (Jhar) 315, 301, 299, 338 - 1253, 4. Keziengunuo Theunu (Jhar) 300, 323, 292, 336 - 1251, 5. Bhagyabati Chanu (Mani) 318, 318, 296, 318 - 1250.