CWG Archery: Deepika wins gold, Dola picks up bronze

By Bharat Sharma, IANS,

New Delhi : Young archery sensation Deepika Kumari won a gold while veteran Dola Banerjee ended up with a bronze in the women’s recurve individual event of the Commonwealth Games here Sunday.

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Sixteen-year-old Deepika, who has been rated highly, became India’s first individual gold winner from archery in the Games. She beat Athens Olympics bronze medallist Alison Jane Williamson of England 6-0.

Dola won the bronze after beating Malaysian Anbarasi Subramaniam 6-2 in the third place play-off.

The two medals took India’s archery tally to six. The team comprising Deepika, Dola and Bombayala Devi earlier won the gold in the women’s recurve team event.

The sudden windy conditions at the Yamuna Sports Complex made it difficult for the archers but both Deepika and Dola expressed satisfaction with their perfromances.

“It was a lot windy today. We experienced similiar conditions when we initally came here. During the final, it was very difficult to shoot, especially from target no 2. I really had to hold the bow tight. I am happy that I got the gold in testing circumstances,” Deepika, who was unflustered facing the five-time veteran English archer, told IANS.

The class 11 student from a village near Ranchi said she rated the Games victory at par with the cadet world championships title in 2009 and dedicated it to her family and the coaches.

“The gold here means a lot to me but that world cadet title was also special. I want to thank my family and the coaches for their support,” said Deepika, the daughter of an auto-rickshaw driver.

Former world cup champion Dola was effusive in her praise of Deepika.

“I don’t mind Deepika getting the gold and I finishing third. The medals are for India at the end of the day. Deepika has been performing very well in the last couple of years.”

Dola lost to eventual silver medallist Williamson in the semifinals. She said Indian archers have improved drastically in the last one-and-a-half years and the women’s team needs one more archer like Deepika to be the best in the world.

“I have been in the sport for 16 years and I never received the kind of training that we all did during training camp ahead of the Games. I hope it goes on like this after the event as well.”