Struggling to explain the much-hyped archers' flop-show at the Olympic Games, coaches Limba Ram and Ravi Shankar today said they have no excuses to offer for the below-par performance.
"There are no excuses," said Limba Ram at the Games village before the team's departure to India.
"We trained hard, we were given all facilities by the Archery Association of India, the Sports Authority of India and the Government. We are also disappointed with the results," he added. The duo agreed that that hype around the team, which failed to go beyond quarterfinals, had raised the expectations but "that was natural".
"The archers were doing well before the Olympics. Deepika Kumari was ranked World Number one by the International Federation and not by us. Our boys team came here ranked number two," said Limba.
Limba said he cannot explain the sudden slump in the form of the archers.
"To be honest, we came here with the hope of winning at least one medal." Ravi Shankar was also candid in his views, saying, "I have some observations to make but please do not construe them as excuses. Olympics are a totally different ball game.
"Our archers have participated in several World Championships and won few of them. But the overall aura of the Olympics is awesome and that too had a big impact. Only two of our archers Tarundeep and Bombayla Devi had previous experience of Olympic Games."
"Several top archers of different countries who had performed very well in other championships also failed here," said Shankar. But he admitted that there were too many expectations from Deepika and she caved under that.
"Everybody was saying that this girl was the sure medal winner and that put a lot of pressure on the teenager and she could not cope with that," said Shankar. "...the presence of huge crowd and the glitz surrounding the venue made Deepika nervous and that showed in her results," he explained.
He admitted that the Indian archers could not adjust to the cross wind conditions.
"We tried hard, practised in these conditions but still could not make anything out of it and also luck also deserted our archers at crucial stages," he said. "The windy conditions affected all the teams. See the scores of all the teams and you will notice the inconsistency"
Unfortunately our archers fell ill a day after they landed in India. It took couple of days for them to recover and that also had some impact on their physical training," he added. Ravi Shankar said despite this, the archers gave their 100 per cent.
"It is another thing that they failed to reproduce the form that had raised such hopes but this is part of sports and we will have to accept it," he said.
Three men - Rahul Banerjee, Tarundeep Rai and JayantaTalukdar - formed the men's archery team, while Deepika Kumari, L Bombayla Devi and Chekrovolu Swuro comprised the women's outfit.
Both the men's and women's teams failed miserably in the preliminary round itself. The trend continued in the individual events, bringing a premature end to the country's archery campaign at the Games with Deepika, touted as a strong medal prospect, failing to cross the first round.