The toughest and most important part of the season starts for our Indian archers as Olympic Qualification period beckons. The principle qualifying tournament is the 2015 World Archery Championships which will be held in Denmark from 26th July to 2nd August this year.
Qualification Calendar for Indian archers:
The tournaments that are of prime importance for the Indian archery brigade are as follows –
1. Principle Qualifying Tournament: Copenhagen 2015 World Archery Championships to be held from 26 July – 2 August 2015
2. Continental Qualifying Tournament:
For Asians: Bangkok 2015 World Archery Asia Championships to be held from 1-8 November 2015
3. Final Team and Individual Qualifying Tournament: Antalya 2016 Archery World Cup Stage 3 to be held from 13-19 June 2016
Some of the key points of the eligibility criteria for the 2016 Rio Olympics that have to be kept in mind are:
1. The maximum number of athletes who can qualify from a nation in each gender is 3. This number is only applicable if the nation qualifies in the team event. However, if the nation fails to qualify or compete in the team event, only 1 athlete will be granted a quota in the individual competition.
2. An athlete can secure an Olympic berth only if he/she can attain the Minimum Qualification Score (MQS) set by World Archery in the period between 26 July, 2015 and 11 July, 2016.
3. Team Qualification – The performance in the upcoming World Archery Championships is vital as only the top eight teams in each gender will earn the coveted quota places. Another chance is available for team qualification at the Final World Team Qualification Tournament. Here, the teams who could not qualify at the World Championships will be competing for a place. Only the three best-ranked teams will secure the berth.
4. Individual Qualification – The highest-ranked archers from the countries, whose teams could not qualify, will be allotted a quota place. A total of eight quota places will be awarded in this category with one quota per nation.
If a nation fails to procure an individual quota place, then the archers can compete again at the designated Continental Qualification Tournaments. There is a last opportunity for those nations which might not succeed in getting a quota place in the above two qualification tournaments.
For them, the Final World Individual Qualification Tournament is open where the three best-ranked archers can earn a quota in each gender for their nation.
Performance of Indian archers in 2015 and their prospects
With recurve being the only archery event at the Olympics, all focus will be on how Deepika Kumari fares at the World Championships. The former World No. 1 is our best bet for a medal at the mega quadrennial competition.
The 21-year-old has been showing flashes of her brilliance and underlined her return to form with a bronze medal in individual competition at the recently-concluded Archery World Cup Stage 2 in Antalya. However, even though Deepika has been hitting her targets well, the same cannot be said for the other members of the women’s recurve team.
The team put up a disappointing show at the first stage of the Archery World Cup in Shanghai as they could not even manage a place in the top 16. Veteran Dola Banerjee made a return at Antalya but failed to uplift the team. The team qualified in the 13th place and lost in the pre-quarters.
In contrast, the composition of the men’s recurve team has been stable with Jayanta Talukdar, Mangal Singh Champia and Viswash featuring in both the Archery World Cups in Shanghai and Antalya. In both the tournaments, the team reached the quarter-finals. In individual men’s recurve events, Jayanta Talukdar has been the most consistent of all the Indian archers. He qualified in the 9th place in Shanghai while in Antalya he was ranked 10th.
Here’s wishing all the best to the Indian archers ahead of the Olympic Qualification period. Let us hope they can grab multiple quota places at the World Championships.