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Indian women archery team for the Olympics
Dola Banerjee would join up with two other participants V Pranita and L Bombyla Devi and head for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Let us join in wishing them success and hope that they bring home the medals.

SETTING TO rest all doubts about her current form, Dola Banerjee (date of birth; June 2,1980) has succeeded in getting selected for the 2008 Beijing Olympics archery event. At the end of the four-day trials on Sunday (June 29) for the mega event at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Eastern Centre, she secured her second successive Olympics berth. She was second with 5141 points out of a possible 5760 points. Dola Banerjee would join up with two other participants V Pranita and L Bombyla Devi and head for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Let us join in wishing them success and hope that they bring home the medals.

To qualify for the Olympics, each archer had to shoot 144 arrows daily for four days over a distance of 70m for a total of 576 arrows. However, at the actual Olympics, an archer will shoot only 72 arrows over the 70m distance in the FITA round qualification. Only 64 archers make it to the Olympics round knockout individual championship and top 16 nations for the team championship. The event of archery would be held over a seven day period from August 9 to 15 at the Olympic Green Archery Field, which is a temporary venue on the Olympic Green in Beijing’s Olympic Park.

Dola Banerjee is a talented women archer of India. She has inspired the women archers to carve niche in this sport as the first woman archer from India. She undertook training from the Tata Archery Academy at Jamshedpur and won the 42nd World Outdoor Target Archery Championship in New York and qualified for the Olympics.

She achieved international success in a sport traditionally considered to be a male bastion. She was the first Indian woman archer to qualify for the Olympics; won the 18th Golden Arrow Grand Prix tournament at Antalya; gold in 2006 South Asian federation (SAF) Games. She won the world championship in archery and is a recipient of the prestigious Arjun award for sports persons in 2005. Her first international appearance was in Youth World Championship in San Diego in 1996. Dola Banerjee became world champion in archery by winning the gold medal in the women’s individual recurve competition at the archery world cup held at Dubai, in November 2007. She is a cousin of the singers Shaan and Sagarika.

The sad part is that the organisations seldom come forward to receive individuals who win awards from overseas. It happened with Vishwanathan Anand and also with Dola Bannerji. This is in sharp contrast to huge crowds who usually gather at airports to receive their cricket heroes – they spend hours in all types of inclement weather to welcome them and take out victory processions. We saw it when Dhoni returned after the T-2-0 World Cup win – traffic came to a standstill in Mumbai. However, in the case of Dola, there were only a handful of persons from the archery federation and a few enthusiasts to receive her at the Dum Dum airport when she returned victorious from Dubai on November 24, 2007.

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