All eyes on Deepika Kumari as archers start their quest for Olympic gold at Lords

When 11,000 athletes from 204 nations fight for honours in 39 disciplines, and the world looks at the Bolt-Blake, Phelps-Lochte face-offs, the Indians will be living in their own 'how-many-medals' bubble, says a report in The Times Of India, adding that they will be trying to raise the bar.

“The good part is that the Indians are no more at the Games to make the numbers; they want to make it count. The Indians will take their first step into the arena here with archery - at the Lord's. Much has been written about cricket's Mecca crossdressing as a bow-and-arrow shooting field,” says the report, adding that after a week of fighting viruses which caused sore throats and running noses, the archers are finally feeling good and looking ahead to the real battle.

Deepika Kumari in the women's recurve (individual) is the best bet for a medal. The pretty, dusky teenager from Jharkhand with dreamy eyes is living in reality. "I am not happy with being No.1 in the world. I want to win in London," she had said before her departure. The moment has come.

Meanwhile a report in Hindustan Times says that when the Indian archers take the field on Friday, all eyes will be on teenage prodigy Deepika Kumari, who turned 18 on June 13. “The reigning youth world champion shoulders the task of breaking into the Korean bastion just like Saina Nehwal has to do against the Chinese in badminton. Korean women have won all the Olympic team gold medals in the history of the event since team championships began in 1988. Deepika is India’s best bet for an individual medal and she is in ominous form leading to the Games,” says the report.

Friday’s ranking round is also crucial for India’s quest for a medal in the team championships. “Both the men’s and women’s teams have a bright chance to return with a medal,” said two-time Olympian archer Dola Banerjee who will reach London on Sunday, the day of the women’s team competition.

The Indian Express reports that one of the youngest serious contenders around, at 18, Deepika Kumari is counted as a threat to Koreans Bo Bae Ki and Sun Jin Lee, but it would be imprudent to dismiss archers from Russia, USA and Italy. “It’s very difficult at this level, but if anyone can do it, it is Deepika,” says coach Limba Ram, even as the teenager prays for the sun, while mentally prepping herself for the worst - windy, wet conditions.