Archery is a sport which requires meticulousness, control, motivation, physical ability and determination. No doubt archery convinces you to give the sport a go. Today, we will talk about famous Indian archers of all time.
We know famous archery-warriors like Arjuna and Eklavya from the mythological epic Mahabharata. In today’s world, we have talented archers as well. Although they might not be deciding the outcome of the wars, they still are are making the country proud on international front. Here are some of the 7 best Indian archers to lookout for:
A veteran of two Olympic Games, Dola Banerjee is India’s first ever Indian archer on an international level. She participated in Athens 2004, becoming the first Indian woman archer to qualify for the Olympic Games.
Banerjee’s list of “the firsts” continued when she won a Gold Medal at the 2007 Archery World Cup, the first Indian woman and second overall to do so. She also won the team gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and followed it with a bronze in the individual event. Yet another bronze came in the team event at the 2010 Asian Games.
Dola Banerjee has played a crucial role in creating India’s reputation in women’s archery. The first Indian archer was awarded Arjuna Award back in 2005.
Atanu Das first grabbed the headlines when he won a silver medal at the 2011 World Youth Championships. Since then, the West Bengal born archer has constantly represented India in various competitions.
Promising talent in Indian archery, Atanu won the bronze medal in Recurve men’s team and mixed team in Asian Archery Grand Prix in Thailand, 2013. His mixed bronze medal came with India’s one of the best Archer – Deepika Kumari. And as the fate would have it, Atanu and Deepika got engaged in 2018.
The 27-year old won yet another silver in World University Championship in 2014. But it was the 2014 Archery World Cup, where Atanu was at his absolute best. He won two silver medals with men’s team and two bronze in the mixed event, a tally of 4 medals in the World Cup. Das was also a part of India’s Olympic team at Rio 2016 where he made it to the round of 16 in men’s individual.
There is a reason why Abhishek Verma is one of India’s medal hopeful for Tokyo 2020. The Indian archer recently won the bronze in Archery World Cup with Rajat Chauhan and Aman Saini, defeating Russia 235-230 in the medal playoff at Antayla, Turkey.
Abhishek’s first shot at glory came during the 2014 Asian Games, with gold in the compound team event and a silver in compound individual. He was awarded the Arjuna Award by the Government of India for brilliant performances in 2014. Abhishek also won a gold medal in 2015 Asian Archery Championship and a bronze in 2015 World Cup.
Abhishek has also left a mark the World rankings, climbing to the career-best sixth during his peak time.
4Bombayla Devi Laishram
If there is one Indian who has absolutely dominated in the Archery World Cup, it has to be Bombayla Devi. The Manipal born archer has won four gold medals, five silver and four bronze in team recurve events.
Bombayla was introduced to archery by her mother, a state level archery coach. With a bronze medal in 2007 World Cup in Dover and a brilliant performance at the 2007 World Archery Championship, Bombayla qualified for the 2008 Beijing Games.
But the real moment of glory came in the 2010 Commonwealth Games for Bombayla when she won the gold medal with recurve team, along with Deepika and Dola Banerjee. She followed it with a bronze in the 2010 Asian Games.
Bombayla continued to dominate in the World Cups with medals at almost every tournament from 2010 to 2016.
The honour of the first ever Indian gold medallist goes to Jayanta Talukdar who climbed to the top of the podium in the 2006 World Cup in Merida.
Jayanta started his career with a silver medal in 2004 World Junior Championship before making a mark in the World Cup. He went on to win bronze medals in both 2006 and 2010 Asian Games. With his excellent performances from 2006 onwards, Jayanta was ranked first in the world in 2009.
The 33-year old represented India in London 2012 and has also been awarded Arjuna Award.
Limba Ram is India’s first ever international level archer who has represented India in record three Olympics. The Rajasthan-born archer started his career in 1987 when he became an overall champion at the National Level Junior Archery Tournaments.
After representing India in Seoul Games in 1988, Limba won a gold medal in the 1989 Asian Cup in the team event and a silver in the individual event. Three years later, the archer won yet another gold in the individual event in Asian Championship, also equally the world record of 357/360 score in 30 m event.
Limba was at the peak going into 1992 Barcelona Olympics. But he missed out on a bronze medal by just one point in the 70 m event. The 47-year old has been awarded Arjuna Award in 1991 and Padma Shri in 2012.
At just the age of 24, Deepika Kumari is already considered the best archer India has ever produced. And looking at her achievements so far, there is every reason to believe that she actually is the best.
Deepika became India’s golden girl with two gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, winning both individual and team event. And she did it at the age of 16, just SIXTEEN!
The Ranchi-born archer went on to win the team bronze at the 2010 Asian Games and silver in 2011 World Championship. But it was at individual events where Deepika made India proud. She has won three gold medals and three silver at various World Cups in individual events.
Deepika was at the top of the world rankings in 2012 but failed to live up to India’s medal hopes at the London 2012 Olympics. In Rio 2016, Deepika lost in the round of 16 in individual event and quarterfinal in the team event.
But the current World No. 5 is still a serious medal contender for Tokyo 2020. Deepika will look to bag an Olympic medal and seal her name as the best Indian archer of all time once and for all.
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