Indian men and women dominated the recurve division in the individual and team ranking rounds on the opening day of the Archery Test Event for the Commonwealth Games. However, in the compound section, the Indian men and women could not top the ranking rounds, neither in the team nor in the individual section.

The event is being organised to check the preparedness of the new archery range that will host the actual Games in October 2010. The competition format of the event is also similar to that of Commonwealth Games: it was decided to use the new rules, which will become effective on 1 April 2010. This makes the Delhi Event the first international test of the new set system. Countries competing are: England, India, Jersey, Malaysia, New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Wales. Bangladesh was a late withdrawal.

Security had been a major issue before the Test Event began with threats to other sports events being held in Delhi. The Indian authorities took this responsibility very seriously with constant presence of the police and armed guards around the archers and officials. Archers generally seem to be pretty relaxed because of this intense security protection.

The first day of competition (9 March) consisted in a FITA 70m Round used for ranking. The morning saw the men’s and women’s recurve divisions. The weather was mild with clear skies but a breeze that varied considerably in strength coming over the shoulders of the archers towards the target. In the afternoon the compound archers faced a stronger wind which periodically swirled around the stadium.

Recurve Men
In this division the Indians filled 6 of the top 7 spots with only CHU SIAN Cheng of Malaysia to separate them in 4th place. Scoring was quite close with only 10 points separating the top 5 archers. Tarundeep RAI (India) was the top ranked archer with 668 points, followed closely by his compatriots Rahul BANERJEE (667) and KAPIL (665).

In the team ranking, the Indian trio of KAPIL, Mangal Singh CHAMPIA and Tarundeep RAI led the tally with a total score of 1992, while Malaysia was a distant second (1941) and Scotland (1881) third.

Recurve Women
The Indian women could not have done better in this division! Headed by Rimil BURUILY (663), they made a clean sweep of the top 8 positions in the 23-player field. However unlike the men’s division, Renil BURUILY (663) was 14 points clear of her nearest rival Pranitha VARDHINENI (649). Chekrovolu SWURO was third (646).

The Indian team comprising Dola BANERJEE (637), BURUILY (663) and Bombayala Devi LAISHRAM (645) finished much ahead of the other teams with 1945 points. Malaysia stood in second (1775) and Wales in third (1732).

Compound Men
The men’s compound division was the hardest fought. The Indian National Champion Chinna Raju SRITHER led the chart with 688, a mere 3 points ahead of Lang HON KEONG from Malaysia, who was tied for second place with Jignas CHITTIBOMMA from India although he had fewer 10s including Xs.

The team event saw Malaysia leading the tally with a score of 2035, followed by India (2034) and England (2022).

Compound Women
The highly ranked English duo of Nicky HUNT (681) and Nichola SIMPSON (671) led the way in this division, although SIMPSON had to shoot an improved second half to move from 6th place to second. Bheigyabati CHANU (IND) came in third with a score of 669. In this division the countries represented were spread out among the 24 places.

The English archers had reason to rejoice as they led the team category with 2004 points, ahead of India (1971) and Scotland (1953).

Overall the host country was the most successful of all, booking five top spots in the men and women (compound and recurve) at the individual and team competition. Indian national coach Limba RAM told The Hindu that “I expected better scores on this day but I am sure, our archers will get better with each day. Only if we had trained at this venue for a week, we would have done better. But I am still hopeful of India winning six (out of eight) gold medals.”

The competition continues today with individual and team eliminations all the way to the quarterfinals.

FITA Communication