Rajat Chauhan: ‘I want to be known as a world champion’

The Indian archer, looking fitter than ever, is determined to bag the gold at s-Hertogenbosch in June.

Rajat Chauhan has been working on his fitness of late, having lost seven kg.   -  PTI

Looking fitter than ever, Rajat Chauhan is driven by his ambition to become the first world champion archer from the country.

Four years ago, Chauhan’s dream was shattered when he lost to local favourite Stephan Hansen in the compound men’s individual final in Copenhagen. This time he is determined to bag the gold at s-Hertogenbosch in June. “I want to be known as a world champion,” Chauhan told Sportstar after taking the National title at the Barabati Stadium here.

His hunger for success and recognition had compelled Chauhan to switch to recurve for about a year. “When I went to receive the Arjuna award (in 2016), I saw the athletes from Olympic disciplines getting more attention. The charm of competing in an Olympic discipline is different. For that I switched to recurve and participated in the Nationals in 2017.”

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Shifting from a mechanised compound bow to a manual recurve bow was never easy. “Had I got the job of Deputy Superintendent of Police (as announced by the previous Rajasthan Government), I would not have returned to compound and tried to hone my skills in recurve to compete in 2020 Olympics,” said Chauhan, sporting a tattoo of five Olympic rings on his right elbow.

“A job would have given me the resources to invest in my training. I know I can do it even now. Never know, if I get a good job, I can go back to recurve and try for 2024 Olympics.”

Sacrifices

Knowing Chauhan’s strength, former India coach Jiwanjot Singh convinced the big match athlete to make a comeback to compound before last year’s Asian Games. Chauhan returned and helped India take the team silver in Jakarta.

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Shedding flab from his body as well as his bow, the 24-year-old from Rajasthan is on a quest for excellence. “Along with my coach Dhaneshwar Maida, I am working with Subir Debnath — who is helping me in bio-mechanics and mental training. I never went to a gym. Now I am doing a lot of exercises and have lost seven kg in three months. One has to make some sacrifices. I used to get up late, not now.

“After getting fitter, I reduced my bow’s weight by 200-250gm. I take less load and can train more with a lighter bow. Now I shoot 700-plus scores consistently. Mental training helps me overcome indecision,” Chauhan signed off.