Olympics: Archer Deepika Kumari ninth in ranking round; Koreans dominate
Star Indian archer Deepika Kumari finished ninth in the women's individual ranking round to secure an easy first-round clash in the main event as the country's Olympic campaign kickstarted at the Yumenoshima Park in Tokyo on Friday. The world No. 1 finished with 663 points, while 20-year-old Korean prodigy An San (680) topped the qualification round with an Olympic record score of 680.
Deepika will now have an easy first-round outing against world no. 193 Karma of Bhutan, who finished 56th in the ranking round. The Indian might run into An in the quarterfinal stage. Deepika had lost to her in straight sets during their only exchange in an Olympic Test event at the same venue in 2019.
The previous Olympic record score in the individual ranking round was 673 held by Ukraine's Lina Gerasymenko way back at Atlanta 1996 Olympics. The world record (692) is held by Kang Chae Wong, the world no. 3 who finished third with 675 points for a Korean top-three in the qualification round. Jang Minhee (677) finished second.
Deepika fancied her chances at the halfway mark (36 arrows) as she occupied fourth place with 334 points, one point ahead of Korean heavyweight Kang Chae Wong. But she slipped in the back-end and was woefully out of mark with two 53s in the eighth and penultimate end to slip behind, while Mexican Alejandra Valencia climbed to the fourth place.
Deepika's biggest challenge is likely to be in the last eight where she might run into An who is making her Olympic debut. The qualifying round results are used to seed athletes and nations for the individual, mixed team, and team competitions, deciding their opponents in competition. Archers shoot 72 arrows at the target set 70 meters away, in 12 series of six arrows.
Archers are ranked from highest to lowest at the end of the round. An archer's position after the ranking round becomes their seeding for match play. The Tokyo Olympic Games will officially open this evening.