AAI shortlists two Koreans for coach’s job

The new coach may be given a contract till the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Former world No. 1 Deepika Kumari, who has slipped to 12th in world rankings, last won an individual medal in October 2015   -  PTI

The Archery Association of India (AAI) has shortlisted two South Koreans for the coach’s post ahead of the World Championships in October.

It has been more than a year since the Indian recurve archers have won a medal at a world event.

India last won a World Cup medal in the Stage 3, Antalya in June last year when Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari got a silver medal.

Former world No. 1 Deepika, who has slipped to 12th in world rankings, last won an individual medal in October 2015 when she clinched a silver medal.

“Our objective is clear and that is to win medals at the world events. We have some important events like World Championships and Asian Games (next year) lined up. It will be in the best interest to get a foreign coach,” AAI secretary general Anil Kamineni told PTI.

Concerned about the poor form of the archers, the AAI is keen to get back to the Korean formula, which saw a lot of success in early 2000s and also produced a number of top archers, including three-time Olympian Laishram Bombayla Devi.

“We have taken feedback and the discussions are on to appoint a Korean coach. At the moment we have shortlisted two,” he said without revealing their names.

The new coach may be given a contract till the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The AAI has a sports committee that will finalise the name and will send for approval from the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

Tata Archery Academy’s Dharmendra Tiwary was the head coach till last year’s Rio Olympics but since then the AAI has resorted to a “personal coach” formula on a temporary basis.

The team members are asked to fill in their coaches' names before the start of season and the coach who has maximum wards in the team gets picked for a world event, a senior archer said.

With no permanent coach, AAI faced a peculiar scenario recently when they were forced to call back coach Chungda Sherpa, days after he was “asked to leave“.

At the July 15 trials for the World Cup in Berlin, three of Sherpa’s wards — Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das and Bombayla — were picked.

Sherpa has resumed the camp along with Poornima Mahato who was made the women’s coach.

“I do not know what and how it happened but I was sent a ’call letter’ and I reported to India camp on July 24,” Sherpa said.

The India team will leave for Berlin on August 5 for this year’s last stage of the World Cup.