Tarundeep Rai, Dola Banerjee emerge champions

AFTER the stupendous show at the New York World championship in July, Indian archery geared up to break new ground in search of an Olympic medal.


Tarundeep Rai, who won the men's Olympic round title . — Pic. PARTH SANYAL-

AFTER the stupendous show at the New York World championship in July, Indian archery geared up to break new ground in search of an Olympic medal. This was clearly evident at the first National ranking prize money tournament (second phase) held at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Netaji Subhas Eastern Centre late last month.

Five men and three women broke into the elite 1,300 points club in the FITA round. And then there were some very encouraging scores in the 72 arrows qualifying round and finally teenagers came to the fore in the Olympic round final, two of them figuring in the summit round for the first time.

Inaugural Asian junior individual champion Jayanta Talukdar of Jharkhand and Sumangala Sharma of Uttar Pradesh's Gurukul Archery Academy were the two surprise packets in the Olympic round. More than Talukdar's entry, it was Sumangala's presence in the ladies' final against Dola Banerjee of Jharkhand which raised many eyebrows.

That the 18-year-old failed to live upto expectations in the final was another matter. En route to the title round, she scalped such seniors like Bhagyabati Chanu of Manipur in the quarterfinals and Chekrovolu Swuro of Andhra Pradesh in the semifinals, both represented India at the World meet, which was no mean achievement.

Dola Banerjee of Jharkhand, winner of the women's Olympic round. This was her fifth title in a row. — Pic. PARTH SANYAL-

Sixteen year old Talukdar from Guwahati, a trainee of Tata Archery Academy at Jamshedpur, showed his talent in ample measure to eliminate current National champion Shivnath Nagesia of AP in the round of 32; former National champion Somai Murmu of Army Sports Institute (ASI) in the round of 16; up and coming Nanavath Ravinder of AP in the quarterfinals and arguably the only international class archer Satyadev Prasad in the semifinals before losing to another teenage sensation Tarundeep Rai of ASI in the final.

Rai, a 19-year-old son of a professional photographer from Namchi in Sikkim, a place made famous by Indian soccer captain Bhaichung Bhutia, showed nerves of steel while beating Vijay Mehra of ASI in the first round; former National champion Muni Ram Tirkey of ASI in the pre-quarterfinals; Mangal Singh of AP in the quarterfinals and Kailash in the semifinals. The significance of Rai's title triumph was he won all his matches 2-0. He also recorded 167 out of a possible 180 in the 18-arrow elimination round and 113 out of 120 in the 12-arrow contests. Talukdar too touched 113.

For Dola the title triumph was fifth in a row since the ranking meets were introduced in January this year. The 23-year-old from Baranagar near Kolkata, representing Jharkhand in the tournament, has been ruling the women's archery since she won her maiden National individual crown at Shillong in 1999. Except for her semifinal loss in the Punjab National Games — eventually she ended with bronze medal — Dola has been winning every domestic title she contested till date.

Despite possessing the best three men archers, Team `A' (Tarundeep Rai, Majhi Swayan and Satyadev Prasad) failed to move into the final. Team `C', comprising Jayanta Talukdar, Bulbul Marandi and Manoj Kumar, took the team championship beating Team `D', consisting of Priyank, Rajesh Hansdak and Gurucharan Besra. There was no such hiccup in the women's section as Team `X', comprising Dola Banerjee, Chekrovolu Swuro and Reena Kumari, won both the contests to win the title. Top 24 men's archers were divided into eight teams and played in a knockout format and nine women were divided into three teams and played in round-robin league format for the team championships.

The Archery Association of India (AAI) had changed the format of the tournament in the second phase by introducing an additional round — 72 arrows in 70m — a system followed at the Olympic Games competition. To bring about keener competition, the AAI had also introduced points system. The ranking and prize were based on the points an archer earned.

As per the system, an archer scoring 1300 to 1309 points in the FITA round would stand to gain five bonus points; 1310 to 1319 would earn 7.5 and 1320 and above would get 10. A total sum of FITA score and 72 arrow qualifying round would enable the archers to gain points ranging from 32 to 1. For example, if an archer stood first he would get 32 points and the archer who finished last would get one point. Bonus points, if any, would be added to this to make his total. The ranking attained after this would be the base for the Olympic round pairing with No. 1 playing No. 32 and No. 2 taking on No. 31.

Team winners (from left) : Women's Team ` X' represented by Chekrovolu Swuro, Dola Banerjee and Reena Kumari and the men's champions, Team ` C', comprising Manoj Kumar, Jayanta Talukdar and Bulbul Marandi. — Pic. PARTH SANYAL-

The Olympic round would also offer points from 1 to 32, the maximum going to the winner. At the end of the tournament the archers would be ranked as per the points earned and the highest point gainer would take the top cash award. Prize money was given till eighth place in the men's section and sixth place in the women's category. Those who came upto the semifinals were given the prize money in the men's team championship and the finalists in the women's group. Prize money would also be increased gradually as the ranking meets progress towards the Athens Games.

The FITA round ranking process would continue till the third ranking meet (Hyderabad) which would be the selection trials for the Asian championship to be held at Yangoon (Myanmar) from November 2 to 9. From the fourth ranking meet onwards there would only be 144 arrows over 70m distance followed by the Olympic round competition.

The results:

Olympic round, men's final (best of three matches, 12 arrows per match): Tarundeep Rai (ASI) bt Jayanta Talukdar (Jhar) 2-0 (106-105, 111 (10) — 111 (9). For 3rd and 4th places: Satyadev Prasad (UP) bt Kailash Sharma (UP) 2-0 (106-105, 111-110). Semifinals: Rai bt Kailash 2-0 (110-103, 113-109); Talukdar bt Prasad 2-1 (103-108, 113-109, 110 (9,9,10) - 110 (9,9,9). Quarterfinals: Rai bt Mangal Singh (AP) 2-0 (111-110, 109-100; Kailash bt Limba Ram (Raj) 2-1 (103-111, 108-105, 109-102); Prasad bt Viswas (ASI) 2-0 (109-106, 111-106); Talukdar bt N. Ravinndar (AP) 2-1 (108-112, 111-101, 109-102).

72 qualifying round score, top 10: 1. Viswas 673, 2. Rai 662, 3. Swayan 659, 4. Talukdar 658, 5. Manoj Kumar 655, 6. Prasad 653, 7. Rajesh Hansdak 652, 8. Bulbul Marandi 646, 9. Santosh Pradhan 646, 10. Kailash 645.

FITA round (144 arrows), top 10 (read as total, 90m, 70, 50, 30m): 1. Satyadev Prasad 1317 points (304, 328, 335, 350), 2. Majhi Swayan (ASI) 1315 (312, 325, 330, 348), 3. Tarundeep Rai (ASI) 1212 (303, 331, 325, 353), 4. Limba Ram (1305 (300, 324, 328, 353), 5. Kailash 1301 (306, 324, 316, 355), 6. Jayanta Talukdar 1297 (297, 330, 323, 347), 7. Viswas 1296 (294, 331, 326, 345), 8. Priyank (UP) 1289 (308, 322, 313, 346), 9. Bulbul Marandi 1284 (288, 328, 319, 349), 10. Gurucharan Besra 1282 (295, 314, 326, 347).

Team final (best of three, 27 arrows per match): Team `C' (Talukdar, Marandi, Manoj) bt Team `D' (Priyank, Rajesh Hansdak, Gurucharan Besra) 2-1 (236-241, 247-238, 238-235). 3rd and 4th places: Team `A' (Rai, Swayan, Prasad) bt Team `B' (Viswas, Kailash, Limba Ram) 2-0 (240-226, 245-236).

Women's final (best of three matches, 12 arrows each match: Dola Banerjee (Jhar) bt Sumangala Sharma (UP) 2-0 (103-93, 101-93). For 3rd and 4th places: Chekrovolu Swuro (AP) bt Bansaralin Dhar (Jhar) 2-0 (95-94, 107-84). Semifinals: Sumangala bt Chekrovolu 2-1 (96-103, 107-103, 107-94); Dola bt Bansaralin 2-0 (105-100, 106 (10) - 106 (9)). Quarterfinals: Chekrovolu bt Manjudha Soy (Jhar) 2-0 (102-98, 107-105); Sumangala bt Bhagyabati Chanu (Mani) 2-0 (105-97, 102-90); Dola bt Sakro Besra (Jhar) 2-0 (99-85, 106-89); Bansaralin bt Reena Kumari (Jhar) 2-1 (106-98, 93-111, 101-99).

72 qualifying round score: 1. Chekrovolu 645 points, 2. Reena 638, 3. Dola 628, 4. Sumangala 609, 5. Bhagyabati 597, 6. Bansaralin 589, 7. Manjudha 589, 8. Sakro Besra 586, 9, Keziengunuo Theunu 580.

FITA round (read as total, 70m, 60, 50, 30m): 1. Dola 1309 (314, 330, 314, 351), 2. Chekrovolu 1307 (324, 320, 319, 344), 3. Reena 1304 (299, 324, 331, 350), 4. Sumangala 1283 (318, 323, 300, 342), 5. Bhagyabati 1269 (309, 331, 297, 332), 6. Sakro Besra 1250 (292, 311, 313, 335), 7. Bansaralin 1246 (297, 316, 293, 340), 8. Keziengunuo 1246 (303, 314, 300, 327), 9. Manjudha Soy 1244 (289, 323, 296, 336).

Ranking and points: Men: 1. Tarundeep Rai (ASI) 71.5 points, 2. Satyadev Prasad (UP) 67.5, 3. Majhi Swayan (ASI) 60.5, 4. Kailash Sharma (UP) 60, 5. Jayanta Talukdar (Jhar) 59, 6. Limba Ram (Raj) 58, 7. Viswas (ASI) 57, 8. Gurucharan Besra (ASI) 45.

Women: 1. Dola Banerjee (Jhar) & Chekrovolu Swuro (AP) 19 each, 3. Reena Kumari (Jhar) 15, 4. Sumangala Sharma (UP) 12, 5. Bansaralin Dhar (Jhar) 7, 6. Bhagyabati Chanu (Mani) 6, 7. Manjudha Soy (Jhar) 5, 8. Sakro Besra (Jhar) 4.