Limba conjures up old magic; Dola reigns supreme

NONE could have imagined the emergence of veteran Limba Ram as the men's individual Olympic round champion in the third National ranking prize money tournament held at the Sports Authority of India, Eastern Centre, in the first week of May.

S. SABANAYAKAN

NONE could have imagined the emergence of veteran Limba Ram as the men's individual Olympic round champion in the third National ranking prize money tournament held at the Sports Authority of India, Eastern Centre, in the first week of May. The 31-year-old not only proved a point but seemed to have got back his self assurance. And for National women's champion Dola Banerjee the crown was another feather in her cap making her the only person this season to win all the three ranking tournaments.

Limba Ram emerged the men's individual Olympic round champion taming some stiff opposition. — Pic. S.PATRONOBISH-

Their achievements were by no means an easy one. Apart from taming stiff opposition, the two had to endure heat and humidity, that could test the mental and physical fitness of the fittest. Making things worse was the new format and more number of matches. It never struck the organiser, the West Bengal Archers' Association, to provide runners to bring the arrows back to the contestants, giving the much needed relief from being under the scorching sun. After every end of shooting, the archers had to walk to the target placed at 70 metres and return to the shooting point covering as much as 140 metres. The format demanded each archer shoot 36 arrows over three matches. The one who won two out of three games was the winner of the contest.

Limba, of late, was proving to be an also ran, just making the numbers. At the same time none could take him lightly, for his ability was legendary. An icon of Indian archery in true sense, Limba did admit later that he had lost considerable self belief following his inability to win anything for quite some years.

Devoid of any notable performance, both at home and outside the country, Limba had to endure one year ban from the Archery Association of India for performing below par in an international championship. Just before this he was given the boot from the Jamshedpur-based Tata Archery Academy for not shaping up to certain standard.

Limba won a title after almost six years. This should augur well for the Rajasthan archer. Limba mastered 16-year-old Nenavath Ravinder of Andhra Pradesh 2-1, the scores being 104-106, 106-102, 104-96. Interestingly, this was Ravinder's first senior final. In the second ranking meet also held here in Kolkata, the Nizamabad lad finished third beating reigning junior Asian champion Jayanta Talukdar of Jharkhand.

Limba drew inspiration from the Asian Games gold medallist Yamamoto Hiroshi of Japan. ''When he won the gold medal, he was on the wrong side of 40. If he can perform so well at that age, why cannot I? I am much younger than him!,'' Limba said. Limba, who put India on the world archery map, could also take solace from the fact that Sydney Olympic champion Simon Fairbrother won another gold medal after the first at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.

After having made the elite 16 as the last man, Limba had to face the man in form and first two ranking meets winner, Satyadev Prasad of Uttar Pradesh. Prasad was shocked in the round of 16 and Limba gained in confidence. There was no stopping Limba thereafter. Interestingly, Limba had beaten Satyadev Prasad when he last won an individual title way back in 1996 at the Jamshedpur National.

Dola, aiming to annex her third straight crown, needed to draw heavily from her experience to win the title. Dola kept her nerves in control to come through against the 19-year-old former Tata Archery Academy trainee, Reena Kumari, in the final 2-1.

Earlier on the second day, Prasad won all his 15 Olympic round league matches easily and set a National record as well. Dola won all her seven contests. Prasad touched 175 points out of a possible 180 for the record, bettering the previous best of 169 by Ved Kumar of Ordnance set at the second National ranking meet held at the same venue in March.

The results:

Olympic round, men's final (all best of three matches, 12 arrows each game): Limba Ram (Raj) bt Nenavath Ravinder (AP) 2-1 (104-106, 106-102, 104-96). For 3rd and 4th places: Muni Ram Tirkey (ASI) bt Ved Kumar (Ordnance) 2-0 (107-104, 108-103). Semifinals: Limba bt Ved Kumar 2-0 (110-104, 108-105); Ravinder bt Tirkey 2-1 (103-113, 108-105, 108-101). Quarterfinals: Limba bt Jayanta Talukdar (Jhar) 2-0 (111-102, 108-107); Ved Kumar bt Rajesh Hansdak (ASI) 2-0 (112-102, 103-102); Tirkey bt Priyank (UP) 2-0 (102-101, 105-94); Ravinder bt Tarundeep Rai (ASI) 2-0 (109-105, 107-103). Pre-quarterfinals (18 arrows): Limba bt Satyadev Prasad (UP) 2-1 (158-164, 167-166, 162-159); Talukdar bt Viswash (ASI) 2-1 (156-154, 157-165, 168-163); Hansdak bt W. Ranjan Singh (ASI) 2-1 (152-162, 158-155, 159-148); Ved Kumar bt Gurucharan Besra (ASI) 2-0 (159-154, 166-154).

Standings with prize money: 1. Limba Ram (Rs.15,000); 2. Ravinder (Rs.10,000); 3. Tirkey (Rs. 6,000); 4. Ved Kumar (Rs. 5,500); 5. Talukdar (Rs. 5,000); 6. Tarundeep Rai (Rs. 4,500); 7. Rajesh Hansdak (Rs. 4,000); 8. Priyank (Rs. 3,500).

Olympic round group league, top 16 men (Read as points and total): 1. Satyadev Prasad (UP) 15/2510 points; 2. Tarundeep Rai (ASI) 13/2415; 3. M.R. Tirkey (ASI) 12/2342; 4. Ved Kumar (Ordnance) 11/2404; 5. Rajesh Hansdak (ASI) 11/2382; 6. Kailash (UP) 11/2361; 7. Prabhat Kumar (ASI) 10/2395; 8. Viswash (ASI) 10/2384; 9. Jayanta Talukdar (Jhar) 9/2409; 10. N. Ravindar (AP) 9/2375; 11. Priyank (UP) 9/2366; 12. W. Ranjan Singh (ASI) 9/2361; 13. Gurucharan Besra (ASI) 9/2337; 14. Robin Hansda (ASI) 8/2378; 15. Shivnath Nagesia (AP) 8/2362; 16. Limba Ram (Raj) 8/2346.

FITA round, top 10 men (Read as: total, 90m, 70, 50, 30): 1. Satyadev Prasad (UP) 1322 (299, 329, 340, 354); 2. Ved Kumar (Ordnance) 1294 (291, 325, 327, 351); 3. Prabhat Kumar (ASI) 1284 (294, 318, 326, 346); 4. Muni Ram Tirkey (ASI) 1280 (300, 314, 316, 350); 5. Jayanta Talukdar (Jhar) 1280 (302, 317, 316, 345); 6. Tarundeep Rai (ASI) 1278 (296, 315, 317, 350); 7. Kailash (UP) 1277 (292, 316, 318, 351); 8. Viswash (ASI) 1277 (279, 320, 332, 346); 9. N. Ravindar (AP) 1275 (290, 317, 323, 345); 10. Majhi Sawayan (ASI) 1272 (292, 318, 322, 340).

Olympic round, women's final (best of three games, 12 arrows): Dola Banerjee (Jhar) bt Reena Kumari (Jhar) 2-1 (99-102, 100 (8) - 100 (7), 107-106). 3rd and 4th places: Bhagyabati Chanu (Mani) bt Chekrovolu Swuro (AP) 2-1 (105-108, 103-101, 103-98). Semifinals: Dola bt Chekrovolu 2-1 (108-105, 102-107, 108-103); Reena bt Bhagyabati 2-0 (105-99, 109-104). Quarterfinals: Dola bt Keziengunuo Theunu (Jhar) 2-0 (110-90, 101-92); Chekrovolu bt Manjudha Soy (Jhar) 2-0 (100-98, 110-97); Bhagyabati bt Sakro Besra (Jhar) 2-1 (84-93, 100-83, 98-97); Reena bt Naohmi Laloo (Jhar) 2-0 (103-102, 101-99).

Standings with prize money: 1. Dola (Rs. 15,000); Reena (Rs. 10,000); 3. Bhagyabati (Rs. 6,000); Chekrovolu (Rs. 4,000).

Olympic round league, top 8 women (Read as points and total): 1. Dola Banerjee (Jhar) 7/1109 points; 2. Bhagyabati Chanu (Mani) 5/1048; 3. Naohmi Laloo (Jhar) 4/1042; 4. Chekrovolu Swuro (AP) 3/1048; 5. Manjudha Soy (Jhar) 3/1014; 6. Reena Kumar (Jhar) 2/1058; 7. Sakro Besra (Jhar) 2/1021; 8. Keziengunuo Theunu (Jhar) 2/987.

FITA round, top 8 women (Read as: total, 70m, 60, 50, 30): 1. Dola Banerjee (Jhar) 1315 points (317, 334, 320, 344); 2. Chekrovolu Swuro (AP) 1293 (313, 322, 317, 341); 3. Reena Kumari (Jhar) 1283 (315, 321, 308, 339); 4. Sakro Besra (Jhar) 1272 (294, 328, 309, 341); 5. Bhagyabati Chanu (Mani) 1259 (305, 320, 307, 327); 6. Naohmi Laloo (Jhar) 1236 (310, 305, 296, 325); 7. Manjudha Soy (Jhar) 1216 (285, 307, 291, 333); 8. Keziengunuo Theunu (Jhar) 1206 (286, 308, 283, 329).