Football and archery are the sports which kickstart even before the official opening ceremony of the Games.

Today, the four-member Indian team will step into Rio's landmark Sambadrome Marques de Sapucai, with an aim to break a jinx and prove the naysayers wrong.

An Olympic medal at the highest level has eluded Indian archers who have achieved almost every other feat, including winning a bronze at the youth level of the Summer Games, courtesy Atul Verma in Nanjing, China 2014.

They have participated in the Olympic Games since the sport was introduced in Seoul (1988) and, barring Sydney (2000) when they failed to qualify, they have competed in six editions with their best finish being the quarterfinals by the women's team in Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008).

In the individual section, Satyadev Prasad pulled off the best finish among Indians by advancing to the pre-quarters 12 years ago.

Since then the archery landscape has changed, thanks to the individual brilliance of Deepika Kumari, who at a young age of 15 burst into limelight by becoming the cadet world champion in Ogden (2009) competing in a field of under-18 age group.

Two years later, the Ranchi girl showed that she has it in her to go a long way by becoming the junior (Under-21) world champion in Legnica, Poland.

At last count, she had more than 10 gold medals at the world level including winning the team and individual finals at the Commonwealth Games, New Delhi (2010) when she stunned five-time Olympian and bronze-medallist Alison Williamson of Great Britain.

By the 2012 Olympics, she had become world No.1, along with her team, and expectedly the hopes from her skyrocketed.

But all the hype fizzled out in a few seconds when Deepika lost to Amy Oliver of Great Britain, while the team which also had Bombayla Devi Laishram and Chekrovolu Swuro went down to Denmark, both in first rounds.

The blame was on cold weather, viral fever and Olympic pressure-factor for an inexperienced India team with Deepika in her maiden Olympics.

It was a fresh start for the archers since the London debacle as their rankings dropped and Deepika battled inconsistent form which forced her out of the team for some time in 2015.

But she peaked at the right time to help the women's team clinch the quota berth in World Championship last year followed by an individual qualification in the men's section.

The women's team is now ranked fourth, while Deepika has slipped out of top-10. But the team has what it takes to challenge the invincible Koreans, who are eyeing their eighth successive gold.

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