Tarundeep, Talukdar, Banerjee clinch Olympic berths

Kolkata: The Indian men`s archery team – comprising the trio of Tarundeep Rai, Jayanta Talukdar and Rahul Banerjee – secured a berth in next month`s London Olympics after finishing second in the final qualification tournament at Ogden (USA).

Making it truly memorable, India also stormed into the World Cup Stage III final and will take on the hosts, USA, on June 24, vying for a gold medal.

With the women`s trio of Deepika Kumari, Laishram Bombayla Devi and Chekrovulo Swuro already qualified for London through the World Championship, India will compete in all the four events of the July 27-August 12 quadrennial extravaganza.

According the to information received here, the trio – were ranked third in the 16-team draw – showed nerves of steel as they prevailed over Norway (224-207, PQFs), Canada (224-216, QF) and Australia (221-209) to make the final, something that sealed the London berth.

Having assured themselves an Olympic berth, the lack of motivation was apparent in the final as they were beaten 218-221 by Japan who had stunned heavyweights Chinese Taipei (210-202) in the other semis yesterday.

Chinese Taipei became the third country to make the cut when they beat Australia (216-214) in the third place play-off. The top three teams in the event qualified for London. Their crucial clash against the Australia was a thriller as India trailed 53-56 after the first set. But in the second set, they quickly reduced the deficit to two points with the help of two perfect 10s and three 9s to be on 108-110.

In the third set, Australia had a poor seven in the last round of arrows, as India maintained a cool composure to make it 165-165.

In the decider, both teams were locked 202-202 as India shot a perfect 10 while Australia a 7. Then India shot a 9 that sealed the Olympic berth as Australia finished with a miss (0).

In the final, Japan led India by only one point (108-107) after two sets. In the third, Japan shot a 56 to India?s 55 brining their lead to two point. But in the decider India shot a 56 while Japan scored 57 for the top spot. This is the first time after Athens Olympics 2004, that India have made the cut in both the sections.

The London qualifiers were held alongside the Stage III of the World Cup where India made their intentions clear when they beat Italy by two points (220-218) to set up a final clash against the US.

Seventh-ranked India earlier overwhelmed the Netherlands 229-221 in the last 16, while in the quarters they got the better of Malaysia 223-216.