Tarundeep Rai, Satyadev Prasad and Dola Bannerjee have qualified for the Archery competition in the 2004 Athens Olympics. In the process, Bannerjee became the first Indian woman archer to qualify for the Olympics.
The three are part of the Indian team currently participating in the 42nd World Archery Championships, at the Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx, New York.
In competition Thursday, July 17, the Indian men's team comprising Acharya Ved Kumar, Satyadev Prasad, Tarundeep Rai and Limba Ram, placed 13th in a field of 40 teams; the women's team comprising Chakravolu Sworu, Reena Kumari, Dola Bannerji and Bagyabati Chanu went even better, placing fifth.
These constitute the best ever results achieved by Indian archers at the Worlds.
Despite the relatively lower placing achieved by the teams, Rai, Prasad and Bannerjee registered good individual performances to qualify for the Athens Games.
Banerjee finished 14th in the individual event, while Satyadev Prasad and Tarundeep Rai finished 12th and 33rd respectively in the men's section.
Banerjee, who had scored 1311 points in the FITA rounds, won her 1/32 and 1/16 elimination stages in the individual Olympic round before losing to Hyun Jung Lee of Korea at the 1/8 stage.
Similarly, Satyadev Prasad also reached the 1/8 stage of the Olympic round after aggregating a score of 1317 in the FITA section.
Tarundeep Rai also qualified despite finishing 33rd with a FITA round score of 1288 and a loss at the 1/32 stage of the Olympic round.
Acharya Ved Kumar finished 56th in the men's section while Chekrovolu Swuro, Reena Kumari and Bheigyabati Chanu finished 41st, 43rd and 61st respectively in the women's event.
The men's and women's teams are slated to participate in team events on Friday and Saturday as well; their showing thus far has earned the Indians considerable attention among the afficionadoes. So much so, that the official announcer while announcing Bannerjee's result identified her as a member of 'the surprising Indian team, emerging as a real powerhouse'.
The Indian contingent is led by Anil Kamineni; it has P N Mukherjee as chairman, technical committee and Sanjeev Singh as coach.