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Reena, Sumangala up; Dola bows out

August 15, 2004 15:00 IST
Last Updated: August 15, 2004 20:24 IST

It was a day of mixed fortunes for the Indian archers, as Reena Kumari and Sumangala Sharma advanced to the second knock-out round, but the highly rated Dola Banerjee bowed out in the women's individual 70 metres archery event at the 28th Olympic Games in Athens on Sunday.

Putting behind her dismal outing in the ranking round, Kumari kept her cool to edge past the higher ranked Kristine Esebua of Georgia 153-149, while Sumangala Sharma overwhelmed Chinese Taipei's Ju Chen Li 142-133 in opening round matches at the historic Panathinaiko stadium, to bring some cheer in the Indian contingent on Independence Day.

But world number 21 Banerjee's unexpected loss to the lower ranked Jean Lewis Kirstin of South Africa came as a shock, especially after the Indian numero uno finished a creditable 13th in the ranking round.

The 24-year-old Banerjee paid a price for inconsistency and went down 131-141 to the South African, who had finished a poor 52 in individual ranking round on Thursday.

The seasoned Indian archer, a member of the national team which bagged the fourth position in the European Grand Prix in Germany and Italy earlier this year, hit the bull's eye only once, and secured two tens besides culling nine points on seven occasions.

But her arrows went wayward frequently to hand the advantage to the South African who hit the bull's eye only once, and got a sole ten pointer but won the day by maintaining a better level of consistency.

Seventeen-year old Sumangala, the youngest member of the Indian team, put up a string of consistent scores, all of them above the 20 mark, to take her tally to a decent 12 which ultimately proved enough for her to move into the next round where she will take on Kristine Lewis.

Earlier in the day, the Indian archery campaign began on a bright note when Kumari, who had finished a dismal 43rd in the ranking round, gathered her bearings to put it across Esebua.

The Indian, with four years' international experience behind her, notched up four scores of tens including three hits on the bull's eye to set up a second round clash against Tohering Chhoden of Bhutan on Tuesday.

Incidentally, the Bhutan lass also caused an upset by overcoming the challenge from China's Sang Lin, who had finished 11th in the ranking round.

Esebua, who had finished 22nd in the ranking round last Thursday, got only one ten and hit the bull's eye once at the venue, which hosted the first Olympics of the modern era in 1896.

The 20-year-old Indian girl from Jharkhand, a member of the Indian team which finished fourth in the Turkey Grand Prix earlier this year, has already landed a job with the Railways.

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