‘Beating South Korea in the Archery World Cup final was indeed special’

Laishram Bombayla Devi

What was your reaction on winning the women’s recurve team event at the Archery World Cup, 2013?

It feels great. We’ve beaten South Korea earlier too in the semi-finals of the 2011 Archery World Cup in Italy, but to have outscored them in the finals this time for the gold is indeed special.

What do you think this win will mean for archery in India?
People are coming forward to take up archery, especially girls, which used to be a rare thing when I got into the sport. It’s great to see that change.

Do you feel it is difficult to create interest in archery as a sport?
Yes, it is, but things have been changing following the 2010 Commonwealth Games, where India won 3 Gold, 1 Silver and 4 Bronze medals. The good performance of both the men and the women’s team has helped create interest in the sport. It’s nice to see parents encouraging their children and bringing them to practice from an early age.

Do you feel you’ve got due credit for winning the Archery World Cup?
Yes, we have. After all Korea is the World No. 1. So beating them is a huge achievement. It gives us the confidence to believe we can shoot well and that we can consistently put up a tough fight in the future too.

Have you ever felt let down by the lack of appreciation – as is being played up on television – after this win?
I do not feel that way. It is the media persons who came and started asking us about why no one from our federation came to receive us. We have a big win, it feels great. Our manager was with us and we didn’t mind it as such.

What helps you function as a team with Deepika Kumari and Rimil Buriuly?
We support and compliment each other really well. If an opponent has an edge over one of us, the others will immediately advise her on what she must focus on and encourage her.

What relationship do you share off the field? Does it help create a team atmosphere?
Outside of competitions, we live like sisters together. There’s no concept of senior or junior because Deepika is 19 years old. We practice together, stay together, joke around and that helps us to connect as a team and trust each other.

Deepika has been in particularly good form. She is the only Indian to qualify for the finals in the individual category of the Archery World Cup to be held in Paris next month (21-22 September).
She is very talented, a hard worker and a consistent performer too. I’m sure she’ll do really well. I wish her the very best. She will do us proud.


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