London. It’s been 112 years since cricket made a brief Olympic Games appearance.
At the London Games, the sport will still be absent, but its spiritual home of Lord’s will at least provide a support role when it hosts the archery competition.
The sport, which once again will be dominated by South Korea, has already had its test event at the famous venue, albeit played out on a very chilly week in October last year in front of empty stands.
But the ground got the thumbs up from competitors and officials.
“They like it,” said Tom Dielen, the secretary-general of International Archery. “They haven’t had too many problems with the slope. Archery has fallen in love with Lord’s.”
South Korea has won 18 golds since archery returned to the Olympics in 1972 after a 52-year absence, double the tally of their closest challengers, the United States.
They also took gold and silver at the 2009 world championships.
But at the Beijing Olympics four years, the country, although dominating the team events, missed out on the individual golds, a surprising development given that Korean archers hold the world records.
In London, South Korea men’s team will be led by 2008 team champion Im Dong Hyun, the 2011 world championship runner-up Oh Jin Hyek and newcomer Kim Bubmin.
The United States has the top ranked Brady Ellison, Jake Kaminski and Jacob Wukie. France, which will be competing in their 12th Games, will look to Thomas Faucheron, Romain Girouille and Gael Prevost.
In the women’s tournament, South Korea’s strongest rivals are expected to be India, China, Taiwan and reigning world champions Italy.
South Korea’s team will be made up of top-ranked Ki Bo Bae, 2004 Olympic team champion Lee Sun Jin and rookie Choi Hyeonju.
India will rely on Bombayla Devi, Deepika Kumari and Chekrovolu Swuro.
The Olympic archery tournament consists of four medal events — men’s individual, women’s individual, men’s team, and women’s team.
In all four events, the distance from the archer to the target is 70 meters.