Deepika Kumari along with other India’s archers head to Thailand for the Asian Archery Championships scheduled to begin on 21 November. The event will be the penultimate competition for Asia’s archers to qualify for the Olympics next year.
Last event after this will be the Final Olympic Qualification event which will give team quota as well as individual quotas. India can win Max one woman quota via Asian Championship as a nation can only win one out of max three quotas.
With an eye on Tokyo 2020, the Archery federation has chosen a strong team for the Championships. With former world number one archer, Deepika Kumari and veteran Bombayla Devi Laishram lead the Indian contingent. The third Indian will be Ankita Bhakat.
These three Archers along with other Asian archers will be competing for thee available quotas here.
Indian Archer to play under "Olympic Athlete" tag
India players will play under World Archery flag since Archery federation of India are suspended by World Archery (WA). Hence any medal won by Indian archery in both formats (Recurve and Compound) will not be counted as Indian medal but will be counted towards the World Archery tally.
This will be the second such instance in as many months where the archers have been forced to compete under the World Archery flag.
Only last month at the Asian Para Archery Championships, India's Vivek Chikara did the entire nation proud by winning a gold medal in the men's recurve open event. But the medal was not counted for India.
Recent Form of Indian Women Archers a concern for India
World no 9, Deepika Kumari has had a forgettable year so far, finishing ninth in both the 2019 Berlin Archery World Cup as well as in the 2019 Antalya World Cup. Last gold medal at a major competition for two time Commonwealth Champion Kumari came in last year at Salt Lake City Archery World Cup.
This is the right time for six-time world cup Gold medal winner Deepika to again shown her class and quality on the big stage and came up with medals and quotas from this Championship. Deepika recently won Silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics test event.
Apart from Deepika, India’s 34-year-old veteran Bombayla Devi Laishram will be aiming to qualify for her fourth Olympics. She has participated in the 2008 Beijing, 2012 London as well as the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Laishram, who is also not having a good form in recent times as she hasn’t had a podium finish at a World Cup since 2016. She is currently ranked 34th in the world but her experience and track record could give her an advantage at a major competition like the Asian Archery Championships.
As Asian Archery Heavyweights like Korea, China and Chinese Taipei have already won Max three quota so India will be favourite to win one quota place here.
Asian Championship will start from 21 but there will be a separate Qualifications round for Tokyo olympic Qualifications on last day of tournament. In which only quota eligible Archers will participate.
Other Events at Asian Archery Championship
Indian men’s Recurve team has already secured quota after winning Silver medal at the World Archery championship. And they will be trying for another podium finish here. India’s participants for the recurve event will be Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das, Jayanta Talukdar and Atul Verma.
As quota belongs to Country, not to individual competition in Bangkok presents a good opportunity for the Indian archers to stake their claim for the 2020 Olympics.
In Compound, world number 15 Abhishek, Rajat, Mohan, and Kawalpreet will represent Indian in men's competition. While world number 13, Jyoti, Muskan, Priya and Ishembi Devi will lead women challenge.
In the last edition of the Asian Archery Championships,India finish 2nd in medal telly thanks to our Compound Archer who won two gold medal. Abhishek Verma won Individual gold along with team silver. While women Compound also claim top spot. Jyoti who was part of Gold medal winner team also won Bronze in individual compitition.
Abhishek and Jyoti also won mix team silver and completed hat trick of medals. Out of six medals, only the men team in recurve could end up with podium finish. They won Silver medal after losing to Korea in the final.
In recurve women, Deepika Kumari finished with disappointing 17th place as she could only win one match and lost in the round of 32. Ankita was the only Indian recurve women who played the quarter-final.
Deepika and Ankita will try to forget last year's performance and try to finish on podium with Olympic quota.