Tonight, as the curtain goes up on the archery event at Rio, Deepika Kumari, Bombayla Devi Laishram and Laxmirani Majhi will be part of the first women’s team ranking round. Kumari, Laishram and Majhi are expected to bring home India’s first medals in archery, so as you gear up for the night in front of the TV, ready to cheer our Olympians on, we thought you might like to know a little about them.
Deepika Kumari: The highest bid is on Deepika Kumari, with her consistent ability to keep her arrows on target. The 22-year-old archer made her first breakthrough in 2005 and won the gold medal in the women’s individual recurve event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi. In 2012, she was No. 1 in world archery rankings, though her outing at the London Olympics that year did not fetch us medals. Kumari is an Arjuna Awardee currently ranked World No. 5. Just 100 days before the Rio Games, she shot a world record-equalling total in the women’s recurve event of the Archery World Cup in Shanghai. She received the Padma Shri this year.
Bombayla Devi Laishram: This highly rated archer from Manipur began her sports career in 1996, and became a member of the Indian team a decade later in 2006. She won gold at the recurve team event in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, but India also remembers her bulls-eyes at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the women’s individual and team events. In fact, Laishram was the first Indian woman to qualify for the Beijing Olympics archery event after a brilliant performance at the 2007 World Archery Championship at Leipzig, Germany. Devi had to go through six stages of trials before being selected for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Laxmirani Majhi: Majhi got her break the selectors for the archery academy visited her government school in Bagula village, Jharkhand. In 2015, she competed in the World Archery Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, participating in the individual recurve event and the team recurve event where she won the silver medal. The 27-year-old archer is the daughter of a coal mine worker. Majhi will compete in both individual and team events at the Rio Games.
Women’s archery is scheduled to take place between August 5 and August 12. India has never won an archery medal before. But with this talent pool, we think India will make history.