Dola Banerjee is an Indian Archer, and is considered to be one of the best female Archers India has ever produced. Also, she has to her credit the honor of being the first female Archer who has been bestowed upon the Arjuna Award.
She was born on the 2nd of June 1980 at Baranagar, near Kolkata, West Bengal to Ashok Banerjee and Kalpana Banerjee. Dola received her education at Baranagar Rajkumari Memorial Girls High School. She began playing the game of Archery at quite an early age, and joined the Baranagar Archery Club at the age of just 9 years.
Dola won her first National Championship title in Archery in the year 1999, the tournament being held at Shillong. In the National Championship 2001 held at Amravati, she grabbed a Gold Medal in Recurve Event, and 2 Gold Medals at Recurve Event again at National Championship 2002, Kolkata and National Championship 2007, Vijaywada.
She began playing at the International level at the age of 17 years when she participated at Longkwie Asian Championship 1997. She further played at the Beijing Asian Championship 1999, Hong Kong Asian Championship 2001, Yangon (Myanmar) Asian Championship 2003 and New Delhi Asian Championship 2005 where the Indian team grabbed a Bronze Medal.
World Cup Archery
Dola reached the Quarter Final round of the Antalya World Cup 2006, where Yu Mi Kim, the archer from South Korea beat her by 109-104. Apart from it, she was a part of the team that played at Shanghai World Cup 2006 and finished at 4th place.
She played at the Beijing World Archery Championship 2001 where she was ranked 13th individually and performed quite well the New York World Championship 2003. Her superb performance at the event paved her way to the Athens Olympic Games 2004, making her the first Indian female Archer ever to achieve the feat. Dola was ranked 13th at the Athens Olympic Games 2004, but unfortunately an unknown Archer named Kirsten Jean Lewis from South Africa defeated her in the first elimination round itself. In the team event of the tournament, she helped her team grab the 8th place.
Banerjee also fared considerably well at the Madrid World Championship 2005, where she got her team into the Semi Final round of the team event, however individually she could just score a 15th place. In the Semi Final round of the team event, the Indian team missed the Bronze Medal to Russia by a very narrow margin of just 2 points. The Russian team beat their Indian counterparts by 236-234 to grab the Silver Medal.
Grand Prix Archery Tournaments
Dola created a history of sorts in the year 2005 when she won the Gold Medal at European Grand Prix Archery tournament and the Golden Arrow Grand Prix Archery tournament, Antalya, Turkey in the same year. In the Final round of the Golden Arrow Grand Prix tournament, she outclassed Tatyana Dorokhova of Ukraine. Apart from it, she also won the Gold Medal at the Colombo SAF Games 2006, where she defeated a yet another Indian Archer Reena Kumari in the Final round.
Awards and Honors
For her distinguished excellence in the sport of Archery and her continuous contribution to the glory of the nation through her victories in a number of International competitions, Dola Banerjee was honored with the Arjuna Award by the Government of India in the year 2005. She was the first female Archer ever to have been honored by this award.
- First Indian woman archer to qualify for the Olympics
- Won the 18th Golden Arrow Grand Prix tournament at Antalya
- Gold in 2006 SAF Games
- Arjuna Award for 2005