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India’s success has deep roots and great team spirit!

The young upraising star Deepika KUMARI was brilliant today when she clinched her second gold medal of the Games, finishing with a perfect 10-10-10! Overall India earned 3 gold – 1 silver – 4 bronze. History of a success! 
India’s success has deep roots and great team spirit! Delhi – 10 October 2010   The young upraising star Deepika KUMARI was brilliant today when she clinched her second gold medal of the Games, finishing with a perfect 10-10-10! Overall India earned 3 gold – 1 silver – 4 bronze. History of a success.   Archery Association of India Secretary General and founding member Paresh MUKHERJEE said, “We have a come long way from scratch! I remember we bought our first FITA Rules Book in 1967, just to learn what is a FITA Round and to know the distances we should shoot. A bit later a man named Jogeshwar GHOSH developed bamboo bows and wooden arrows. These bows were already a step forward in our way of shooting archery, as they allowed us to start practicing in a modern way with the correct stance for elite archer.” MUKERJHEE added “We had no modern technology, we improvised a lot, but we have always put a great deal on development. The Federation also built their own cheap target butts to help spreading the game. Now the fabrication of these target butts has been taken over by a former archer Rupesh KAR, who created the company Istone. Actually, these butts are pretty much the only Indian component on the archery field at the Delhi Commonwealth Games.” These butts, and most importantly the archers! “Years after years, we have progressed and in the last 10 years we have become a strong player in international archery. I feel very happy that we won 8 medals at the Games, but we are also proud that all our archery teams are better placed in the world ranking than most of the other sports in India.”   A wide development and talent detection have been indeed a key part of the strategy of the association, as confirmed by the Vice President Anil KAMINENI, “We run the Under-13 games all over the country, shooting what we call an Indian Round with bamboo bows. Under the organisational leadership of C. H. Satyamanayama, these games really strive to give a chance to all the kids from all the classes of the society to start archery. It can give them a great start in life for some of them! Look, during these Commonwealth Games we have had Ritul CHATERJEE, 14 years old and Jignas CHITTIBOMMA, 16 years old, who won the silver medal in the compound men’s team event. And today, we have Deepika KUMARI winning her second gold medal at just 16 years old!”. In fact, these U-13 Games and various archery school activities is still part of the strong bamboo program that the Archery Association of India is running. The best archer can then join some sports academy supported by sponsors such as Tata Steel or Indian Railways to train as a elite archer. Another example is Jayanta TALUKDAR who at 19 years old was part of the silver medallist team at the World Championships Madrid 2005. He went on to win the first World Cup stage ever in Porec 2006 and is the only recurve archer who has taken part in three World Cup Finals so far.   The Archery Association of India is also helping its archers after their competition career. Some start working in the administration and some stay involve as a coach. Some do both. That is the case of Satyadev PRASAD, who participated at three world championships, earning a team 4th place in New York 2003, asll as the Athens 2004 Olympic Games where he finished 11th in individual. He is now a police officer in Delhi and a recurve coach for the national team. He trains 47 archers in the police team and he also helps looking after some of the top Indian archers that were present at the Commonwealth Games. He pays special attention to Mangal Singh CHAMPIA’s career, who went to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, but just missed out during the trials for the Commonwealth Games. PRASAD thinks that “the Commonwealth Games are a good opportunity for India, and specially a good opportunity for archery. The sport is sometimes still considered as a tribal game. The last 5-6 years our performances have risen to the top level, but we have missed out too many times on medal opportunities. We were up there, but we lost many times in the medal matches. Dola BANERJEE and Jayanta TALUKDAR’s victories in the World Cup were a bit the exceptions. I must also say that FITA has encountered many changes in recent years, from the FITA round to the 12-arrow matches and now the Set System. All these ways of competing mean different strategies and it takes time for a federation to adapt, especially a federation that is developing.”   “Now I hope that the medals won at the Games by the archery team will bring more attention to the sport, more support from the sponsors and will lay down the foundation of a bright future for archery in India.” PRASAD also believes that, “the bamboo program has started it all. The bamboo makes it easy to learn the basis of the technique and the rules. After 2-3 years with a bamboo bow, some shoot already very high scores! However to bring it to the next level, we need also to have more recurve and compound bow available in the market. Only the top young archers are selected to go to training club and shoot with recurve or compound bows. There should be more archery dealership in the country and why not an Indian archery brand for bow to further expand the sport. To make better equipment accessible to more people.” In fact, on top of being a police officer and a coach, PRASAD was also a volunteer as field of play coordinator for the archery competition at the Commonwealth Games. For one side he, “wanted to be close to my boys, some of the Indian archers that I have shot with in international competitions. Moreover, these Commonwealth Games are like the Olympic Games for India. I wanted to be a part of it and I hope it will give a legacy for archery in Delhi. I hope the Yamuna Sports Complex where the archery competition took place, will be used further on for archery.”   PRASAD was not the only top archers that acted as a volunteer during these Games. As the story broke out at the beginning of the Games in the Hindustan Times, “India archers KAPIL and PRIYANK have shown the way. The two men’s recurve archers enrolled as volunteers for the competition and, with both assigned to provide technical assistance on the field, have ensured they get to cheer their teammates from close quarters.”   “I wanted to be part of the biggest event happening in India. I missed out after a close selection trial. So, I tagged along with PRIYANK and applied to be a volunteer. We could cheer our team from close quarters,” said the 22-year-old KAPIL, who was part of the men’s recurve team at the World Cup in Ogden (USA) in August. Even Olympian Mangal Singh CHAMPIA, who lost out on a CWG berth to SAF gold-medallist Tarundeep RAI in the trials, is part of the volunteers’ team. “But I have asked him to stay back in Kolkata and practice for the Asian Games,” said Parish MUKHERJEE. Among former players, Olympians Satyadev PRASAD and Ved KUMAR were part of the star-studded volunteers’ team. “This is their sport, so let them conduct it,” concluded MUKHERJEE.

Didier MIEVILLE World Archery Communication   Source: Hindustan Times, Nilankur DAS