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Indian archers ready for possible windy weather at Beijing
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Four years ago, they were set up by turbulent weather in Athens, but this time around the Indian archers are just better prepared for any eventuality and are leaving no stones unturned for a medal at the Beijing Games.

A lesson at the last Games, where the Indians went haywire in the windy conditions in Athens, the Archery Association of India (AAI) is acclimatising the Beijing-bound archers in "all kinds of weather conditions".

The archers for Beijing is a quartet of Mangal Singh Champia, Dola Banerjee, Laishram Bombayla Devi and Vardhineni Pranitha, who are fine tuning their skills at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) Eastern Centre at Salt Lake in Kolkata.

They are under the watchful eyes of South Korean coach Lee Wang Woo for three-and-half hours each in the morning and in the afternoon, for many months now.

Touted as the "medal hopes", the archery contingent led by Athens-returned Dola knows that the onus is on them and the AAI is in no mood to leave any gap in their preparation.

"We are going there to give a tough competition and win medals but not just to participate. The only thing we need now, is a little bit of luck to convert our performance into medals," said AAI general secretary Paresh Nath Mukherjee in Kolkata on Thursday, adding they have a fair medal chance, and the women's team event seems easier.

"We selected Kolkata as the practice venue because the weather here is perfect. With the city having witnessed a good monsoon, the archers were exposed to all kinds of weather," said he.

"They have shot in no wind, medium wind and heavy wind conditions. Even there were damp and muddy, and heavy humid conditions, similar to that of Beijing, sometimes," added he.

The archery competition is to start women's and men's ranking round on August 9, lasting seven days for the four gold medals on offer.

(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2008)

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