A determined Bommadevara aims to write Indian archery history in Paris

Dhiraj Bommadevara shooting for bronze in Antalya.


Dhiraj Bommadevara is determined to make history in Paris next summer and it starts with securing a quota at the Asian Archery Championships in Bangkok next week.

India has never won an Olympic medal in archery, something the 22-year-old has his sights set on changing sooner rather than later.

Bommadevara has quickly become a rising star of Indian archery after a stellar season and is hopeful of hearing the Indian anthem playing at the Esplanade des Invalides next August.

“At the Paris Olympics, we are targeting a medal,” he said. “We are just focusing on gold as nothing is impossible.”

“We are tired of working really hard and just missing out on medals. For Paris, we are just preparing and working very hard.”

Dhiraj was a reserve for Tokyo and so did not get a chance to compete, but as a member of the national squad during training he saw the pressure on his peers to get a medal.

 “[It] is really stressful for any archer,” he explained. “The expectations are much higher which is good; it is a matter of getting that first Olympic medal.”

Dhiraj Bommadevara on his first individual World Cup podium.

A quota spot is top of the priority list for both Bommadevara and the wider Indian recurve team after missing out on a chance to book their tickets at the Hyundai World Archery Championships earlier this summer and the Asian Games in October.

Bommadevara finished sixth at the latter event in Hanghzou, one place behind compatriot Atanu Das, and the result did little to take the gloss off a superb season.

A first Hyundai Archery World Cup stage medal, bronze in Antalya, was followed by him qualifying in second at the world championships in Berlin, behind only three-time individual world champion Kim Woojin. The Indian archer eventually fell in the quarterfinals to Chile’s Ricardo Soto, while the men’s team finished ninth, but there is no hint of negativity upon reflection on his year’s work.

“I am very happy with the 2023 season,” he said. “We worked really hard over the past couple of years and this year we got some great results.”

“We haven’t got the Olympic quota spot yet and we are working on it for the upcoming Asian Championships, but in the World Cups, World Championships and Asian Games we did really well and it was an amazing year.”

Focus now switches to the continental championships to secure access to Paris.

Bommadevara will be the leading hope for India’s recurve archers heading into the event in Bangkok at a time when Indian archery is on the rise.

India won recurve team silver at the 2023 Asian Games.

The country’s compound archers have made most of the headlines in recent times, with Jyothi Surekha Vennam and Pravin Deotale both winning individual gold in Hangzhou, while Deotale and 17-year-old Aditi Gopichand Swami became world champions in Berlin.

“It feels really good, we take inspiration from them,” Dhiraj said. “Some of our teammates in compound won everything this year, literally everything and it is a big boost for us to continue to get better.”

The 22-year-old is sure that recurve will soon be taking their place on podiums too, as India continues its upward surge in archery.

At the Asian Games, both the recurve men’s and women’s teams won medals.

“We are working hard on turning good qualifications into medals,” he added. “But we are also slowly trying to do that in the individual, too.”

“We are focused on pushing our limits and I hope we will soon see medals for each archer in India who competes at the World Cups and the Olympics.”

Competition at the Asian Archery Championships in Bangkok starts with recurve qualifying on Sunday 5 November.

Two team quotas and four individual places to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be awarded on 9 and 11 November.

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