Bombayla Devi Laishram, an Indian archer from East Imphal, Manipur has represented India at international events since 2007. This was the third time she represented India at the Olympics, the first being in Beijing, the second in London and now at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
Born on 22 February 1985, Bombayla Devi comes from a family who has been engrossed into sports and has contributed towards giving new talent to the nation. Her mother M. Jamini Devi was an archer who represented India in the past and coach archery, had introduced her to the art of archery while her father Manglem Singh is the State coach for Manipur’s Handball team. Bombayla entered into archery in 1996 following her mother’s footsteps and made her first appearance in the Indian team a decade later. She was a part of the Sports Authority of India in Imphal where she received her formal training.
Bombayla has won several medals that include four gold medals, five silver medals and four bronze medals at the Archery World Cup at its various stages since making her debut for India in 2007. She performed exceptionally well at the 2007 World Archery Champions Tournament at Germany in Leipzig. She received wide recognition after she won gold at the recurve team event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi. She continued to perform exceptionally well at the 46th World famous Archery Championship held in Turin, Italy in the year 2011. However, she failed to impress during her three Olympic appearances in Beijing (2008) and London (2010), and Rio 2016.
In her previous appearances at the Olympics, Bombayla represented India at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the women’s individual as well as team events. She, along with Dola Banerjee and Pranitha Vardhineni was ranked sixth in the team event qualifiers. They got a bye in the round of 16, but lost to China by 206–211 in the quarterfinals. In the individual event, she was ranked 22nd in the qualifiers, but lost to Iwona Marcinkiewicz of Poland by 101–103 in the round of 64.
Bombayla has made the pre-quarterfinals at the 2012 London Olympics. But she was bowed out in the second round of the women’s individual recursive event losing 2-6 to Mexico’s Aída Román on the 30 July 2012. In the team event, India lost in the first round 211-210 to Denmark. In 2012 she was awarded the Arjuna Award because of her diverse achievements in the field of archery.
Bombayla Devi had to go through six stages of trials before being selected for the 2016 Rio Olympics. She was the part of the team that qualified for 2016 Rio Olympics. The Indian women’s recursive team, consisting of Bombayla Devi Laishram, Deepika Kumari and Laxmirani Majhi, finished 7th in the ranking round. The team won their match against Colombia in the round of 16 before losing the quarterfinal match against Russia.
Bombayla Devi Laishram faced Laurence Baldauff of Austria in the Women’s Individual Round of 64 encounter in the 2016 Olympics, she won the match 6-2 and progressed to the next round. In the Round of 32, Bombayla Devi faced Lin Shih-chia of Chinese Taipei. She won the match 6-2 and advanced to the Round of 16. However, she was not able to get past Alejandra Valencia of Mexico in the round of 16 and she lost with a score of 2 against 6. She is currently supported by Olympic Gold Quest, a not-for-profit foundation that identifies and supports Indian athletes.
Nevertheless, Bombayla is ranked higher among the two. She came into the Olympics ranked 69th in the world. She showed some great form in the team’s event as well, scoring some big points and also came up with a brilliant performance in archery’s individual event of Rio Olympics 2016. She was the most consistent with a single 8 pointer, five shots of 9 points each and a perfect 10. Bombayla Devi Laishram is highly regarded in her state of Manipur.