India’s top-ranked woman archer Deepika Kumari is happy that the suspension of the national federation (AAI) has finally been lifted, saying she now wants the administrators of the game not to repeat the same mistakes in future.
Factionalism in the Archery Association of India (AAI) has led to its suspension by the world body in August and Indian archers were barred from competing at the South Asian Games, and were allowed at the Asian Championships in Bangkok as “neutral athletes” only because it was a Continental Olympic Qualifying event.
But as per the Delhi High Court order, the elections were held on last Saturday and the World Archery finally recognised the process and conditionally lifted the suspension on Thursday.
“Everyone is happy that suspension has finally been lifted. We can now represent our country. We just now hope that they (AAI) don’t repeat their past mistakes and must learn from it,” the former world number one told PTI from Pune.
“We should know our schedule much in advance, so we can be prepared. Hope we can now go for personal training and the entries are not sent at last minute. If everything goes in time, it helps us. This is our main expectation.”
So far, a solitary quota in the women’s section for Tokyo Olympics has been achieved and the fancied Indian said they can now breathe easy as the suspension was lifted. The men’s recurve team, on the other hand, has secured a full quota.
“We always knew the suspension will be lifted. But the only concern we had was whether the suspension would be lifted before the qualification or not. Everything was getting delayed. We had four quotas assured. But we were always focused,” Deepika said.
Deepika has topped the trials for the Olympics along with her fiance Atanu Das as the duo is set for its second Olympics together.
“I don’t want to talk about Olympics. We were always focused, even when the federation was banned. When all the doors were closed, you have the ray of hope from somewhere and we were counting on that.”
The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has advertised for a foreign coach for men’s and women’s recurve teams for the Olympics but Deepika said there is no point in fiddling with the team right now with less than six months left for Tokyo 2020.
“There is no point in changing the coach with so less time left (for the Olympics). It’s just about training our mindset, we all have got skills,” Deepika said.
Newly-elected AAI president Arjun Munda, who defeated BVP Rao for the top post, also reacted with excitement to the lifting of suspension by World Archery.
“The World Archery Federation has lifted the ban on the Archery Association of India. Now Indian archery will hit the world stage with renewed enthusiasm. Thanks to the Federation,” Munda wrote in his official Twitter handle.
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