National Archery Championship: Bombayla Devi shines

Olympian Bombayla Devi was the cynosure of all eyes as she not only topped the recurve ranking round with 658 points, seven points ahead of Deepika Kumari, but also powered Railways to the final.

Bombayla Devi led Railways to the final of the women's recurve event.   -  R. V. Moorthy -

Olympian Bombayla Devi was the cynosure of all eyes as she not only topped the recurve ranking round with 658 points, seven points ahead of Deepika Kumari, but also powered Railways to the final with a resounding performance in the 36th National Archery Championship at the Kailash Parkash Stadium on Saturday.

Railways, with Rimil Buruily and Laxmi Rani Majhi firing telling blows, along with Bombayla, did find their match in Punjab in the semi-finals, but pulled through, winning the tie-break, to set up a repeat title clash with Jharkhand.

In contrast, Jharkhand, who qualified in the second place, 62 points behind Railways, with N. Lavanya, Reena Kumari and Snehal Diwakar supporting Deepika, sailed past Manipur, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and Maharashtra without dropping a single point along the way, in the knock-out stage on a warm afternoon.

Railways also made it to the men’s final, with Mangal Singh Champia, Rahul Banerjee and Dhaniram Basumatary pulling their weight to cruise past Services, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab, but it was a stormy affair in the other half.

Defending champion Jharkhand, who topped the table in the qualification phase, thanks to the good work of Binod Swansi, Prasanna Kumar, Indrachand Swami and Gurucharan Besra, were knocked out in the pre-quarterfinals by Haryana in the tie-break. Creditably, Haryana continued with their good work to beat Meghalaya and Madhya Pradesh, to make the final.

Interestingly, when Jharkhand had won the gold medal last time, Jayanta Talukdar had spearheaded their challenge. Jayanta had shifted to Steel Plant Sports Board this time, and had in fact topped the individual ranking round with 673 points, one point ahead of Tarundeep Rai and Sonam Palden Lepcha, but could not help his team’s cause.

Steel Plant, who qualified in the second place, 16 points behind Jharkhand, were also beaten in the pre-quarterfinals, by Himachal Pradesh, who then bowed out to Services in the next round.

True to his style of keeping a low profile before the knock-out stage, defending champion Mangal Singh Champia qualified in the 20th place with a modest score of 654, while Rahul Banerjee was in the 12th place. Last year’s silver medallist Sanjay Boro led after 36 arrows with 338 points, but later was pushed to the fourth place, one point ahead of Atanu Das.

It should be a lively competition tomorrow, and it will be interesting to see whether Deepika Kumari, who did not win an individual medal in the last edition, manages to overcome the strong challenge of the Railway girls, who took four of the top five slots in the ranking round.

The results: Recurve: Men (ranking round): 1. Jayanta Talukdar (SPSB) 673; 2. Tarundeep Rai (Sik) 672 (32x); 3. Sonam Palden Lepcha (Meg) 672 (29x).

Team (semi-finals): Haryana beat Madhya Pradesh 6-0; Railways beat Services 6-2.

Quarter-finals: Haryana beat Meghalaya 5-1; Madhya Pradesh beat Delhi 5-3; Railways beat Uttar Pradesh 6-2; Services beat Himachal Pradesh 6-2.

Pre-quarterfinals: Haryana beat Jharkhand 6-4; Meghalaya bt Rajasthan 6-0; Madhya Pradesh beat Maharashtra 6-0; Delhi beat Assam 6-2; Uttar Pradesh beat Gujarat 6-0; Railways beat Punjab 5-1; Services beat BSF; Himachal Pradesh beat SPSB 5-3.

Women (ranking round): 1. Bombayla Devi (Rlys) 658; 2. Deepika Kumari (Jha) 651; 3. Rimil Buruily (Rlys) 647.

Team (semi-finals): Railways beat Punjab 5-3; Jharkhand beat Maharashtra 6-0.

Quarter-finals: Railways beat Gujarat 6-0; Punjab beat Assam 5-1; Maharashtra beat SPSB 6-2; Jharkhand beat CRPf 6-0.

Pre-quarterfinals: Railways beat Kerala 6-0; Gujarat beat Chandigarh 6-4; Assam beat West Bengal 5-3; Punjab beat Telangana 6-0; Maharashtra beat Delhi 6-2; SPSB beat ITBP 5-1; CRPF beat Uttar Pradesh 6-4; Jharkhand beat Manipur 6-0.