Having secured berths in next year's Athens Olympics after their best-ever show in the World Championships, Indian archers are now pinning their hopes on winning gold in the world's biggest sporting event.
"Our archers are capable of winning gold in Athens. Their performance in New York was unprecedented and it highlighted the tremendous talent in the country," coach Sanjeev Singh said in the Capital.
"No one had expected us to perform so well in the World Championships. But I had faith in their potential and their performance proves that we are fast emerging as a powerhouse in the discipline."
The Indian men's team booked a berth in the Olympics by virtue of their fourth-place finish in the championship while the women stood sixth in the competition.
"The men played better than most. We defeated Russia, Ukraine and this is no mean achievement. In the bronze medal match, though we lost to Italy, we played very well," Singh said.
The coach said he was impressed with the way the women's team, led by Dola Banerjee, performed.
"It was really good to see the girls outshining the boys in the competition. Three girls scored over 1300 points in the FITA rounds as against only Satyadev Prasad.
"It was for the first time in the history of Indian archery that four archers qualified for the elimination Olympic round," he said.
Reena Kumari, Dola and Chekrovolu Swuru scored 1318, 1311 and 1309 points respectively in the elimination round while Prasad scored 1317 points.
Besides the teams, Dola, Satyadev and Tarundeep Rai secured individual berths in the Olympics as well.
Lauding the achievement, the Archery Association of India (AAI) president, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, announced a cash incentive of Rs one lakh each for the teams.
He, however, cautioned the archers against complacency and said they would have to continue to perform consistently to maintain their positions in the team.
"Their performance in New York does not qualify them automatically to represent the team in Athens. We will take into account their performance as well as of the others while selecting the team for the Olympics," Malhotra said.
He said the AAI will give enough international exposure to the players before the Olympics.
"There will be four international meets before the Olympics. Besides hiring foreign coaches for them, we will also appoint a psychologist.
"They need to carry on the good work from here and the AAI is ready to do everything to boost India's chances in the Olympics," he said.
He said the AAI was holding negotiations with various corporate houses for sponsorship.
"The AAI is planning a tri-partite arrangement with the Sports Authority of India and sponsors through FICCI to chalk-out an intensive training programme for the archers."
India's next outing will be the Asian Archery Championship in Myanmar from 3-8 November.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine