Purnima Mahato focusing on mental well-being of TAA archers

According to Purnima, the 19 trainees at the TAA would take some time to rediscover their shooting form.

Purnima Mahato said the pandemic spoilt Tata Archery Academy’s plan of inducting a new batch of trainees.   -  K. Murali Kumar

For Purnima Mahato, taking care of the mental health of the trainees at the Tata Archery Academy (TAA) in Jamshedpur is as important as looking after their game.

Purnima, a Dronacharya award winning coach and a mother of two, finds similarities between her own children and those living at the TAA.

“I see how my children get bored by being confined for such a long period of time. It’s no different for the trainees who are staying in the academy, away from their families. Apart from helping them with coaching tips, we are also counseling them to handle the tough period and adopt safety measures,” Purnima told Sportstar.

READ: Archers Atanu Das, Deepika Kumari train at home

“They are not allowed to have individual phones inside the academy. But considering the situation and their mental state they were allowed to have the phones with them for two hours a day and speak to their family members.”

According to Purnima, who is now confined to her home as it falls in a ‘red zone,’ the 19 trainees at the TAA would take some time to rediscover their shooting form.

“They did indoor training, including exercise and bow drawing, for two-three hours a day and attended online classes during the lockdown. However, staying away from practice impacts the game as the body parts take time to coordinate among themselves. When the kids returned to training, they said a 70m target appeared too far. Now they are shooting at 10m and 30m targets while following social distancing norms.

“We have not started scoring yet as the archers will take some time to get back to rhythm.”

Purnima said the pandemic has spoiled TAA’s plan of inducting a new batch of trainees. “Normally we take 24 trainees, but this time we had plans to induct 26. It has been put on hold due to COVID-19 issues. We have to think about our safety first,” said Purnima.                         

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