Meet the team: Olympians Deepika, Laxmirani and Bombayla
Two-time Olympians Deepika Kumari and Bombayla Laishram are joined on the Indian women’s at the Games in Rio by debutant Laxmirani Mahji. Together, they average 26 years of age, and are not long removed from a silver medal at the 2015 World Archery Championships in Copenhagen.
“It took us 40 hours to get to Rio,” said Laxmirani. “Throughout that journey, we dreamed about the Olympics, about winning a gold medal and what we would feel if we make it possible.”
Although having found consistent success – and climbed numerous podiums – at world championships and Hyundai Archery World Cup stages and the Final, India has never won an Olympic medal. If they take an Olympic medal in Rio, said Bombayla, it would be the reward the team’s been waiting for.
“The level of archery in India has improved a lot and a medal at the Olympics would be the boost we need for our country to keep archery in a high level. It would also be our pay-off for all the efforts we have made through the last four years,” she said.
How’s the team atmosphere?
Laxmirani Majhi: “We feel that our shooting is going well. When we are at the shooting line, we support each other and, if I know something that Deepika or Mahji doesn’t, I’ll tell them. This has helped us to do better. It’s all about the trust we have in each other.”
And you’re sharing this experience with Atanu Das, India’s only man in Rio…
DK: “Not having the men’s team is sad but we don’t worry much about it. We are here to enjoy our experience no matter the results, and with Atanu we all have a good relationship.”
“Actually, we both work together at Tata Consultancy Company in India, so we share something more than just archery. Mahji and Laishram work together as well. We are like a family, we are always together."
India finished ninth at London 2012, what has changed since?
DK: “After London we had four years to work hard and improve anything needed ahead of Rio. We are happy, confident and positive about our performance here.”
Imagine you make the finals, which team would you like to shoot against?
Bombayla Laishram: “It would be good to beat Korea, because they are considered the best team, but we really don’t care, everyone is good here and we just want to win.”
LM: “China, Japan and Korea are some other teams worth keeping an eye on.”
And what would it take for you to win that medal?
BL: “Confidence, peace of mind and patience, a lot of patience. The wind here is very tricky and it’s not that easy to understand. You have to be patient to know when and how to shoot.”
what you have seen in Rio so far and what has impressed you the most?
DK: “The image of the Christ. We like it.”