CHENNAI: The Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple in Tirupati saw a few hawk-eyed visitors on Sunday night. Fresh off the sixth stage of the Olympic selection trials in Bengaluru, the archery contingent figured a little bit of bhakti (and the famed laddoo) could go a long way. “It has taken four months and six trials, but we’re happy. Tirupati isn’t too far from Bengaluru, so I thought it would be good for all of us to get the blessings of the Lord. It wouldn’t hurt their chances... quite the opposite in fact,” men’s coach Dharmendra Tiwari told Express.
Earlier in the day, the women’s team of Deepika Kumari, Laxmirani Majhi and L Bombayla Devi secured their passage to Rio by acing the trials but Rimil Buriuly fell by the wayside. Part of the team that clinched the berth at the World Championships in late July last year, Rimil’s woeful form did her no favours. By virtue of the team slot, all three will take part in the individual event too. “Unfortunately for Rimil, she didn’t make the cut. We have to send the best possible team and slots belong to the country, not the individual. Deepika, Laxmirani and Bombayla will represent India at the Games. For the men, there will be a separate qualification to earn a team berth during next month’s World Cup,” Tiwari added.
The men will be represented by Atanu Das, Jayanta Talukdar and Mangal Singh Champia, if they’re able to earn the berth at World Cup Stage 3 in Antalya in mid-June. There’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip. Champia also clinched the lone individual berth at the Worlds. “It’s one thing to have a team in place, but quite another to qualify. While Atanu, Jayanta and I have made the cut to represent India, there will be three team slots on offer in Antalya. It’s our last chance. Otherwise, there will be the another selection trial to select who will go to Rio on the single individual berth that I won for the nation. I hope that doesn’t happen,” Champia shrugged.
Sounds like divine intervention might have to come into play after all!