Archery Association of India (AAI) president Arjun Munda on Tuesday urged the Tokyo-bound archers to shoot fearlessly as they chase an elusive Olympic medal at the upcoming Games.
Country's archers have proved their mettle at the international level but they tend to choke at the biggest stage. It's no different this time too with Deepika Kumari back at world number one spot after leading India to an unprecedented sweep at the World Cup in Paris, just three weeks before the Olympics.
"Unko bas apna morale high karke bindaas khelna chahiye, bas yehi kaafi hai (They just have to shoot carefree and compete fearlessly, that will be enough to win medals)," Munda told PTI .
Deepika was in pole position before her maiden Olympics in London also but return empty-handed.
"My only advice to them is just shoot in a 'bindaas' way without getting distracted by news and media," said the former Jharkhand CM.
India topped the tally at the World Cup Stage 3 in Paris with four gold medals. Deepika enjoyed a hat-trick of titles including women's recurve individual, team and mixed pair event with her husband Atanu Das.
The mixed team, which is India's best Olympic medal hope, has improved nine places to be in fourth place, while Das (number 9) too has moved into top-10 for the first time, improving four places.
"I will be constantly in touch with them. I've always taken personal interest in the sport. I've full confidence that they will do well at the Olympics."
"It's really exciting times for archery in India. Being from rural Jharkhand, I've been attached to archery since childhood. So personally, I'm really proud and emotional of the feat," Munda said.
The performance came just a week after the Indian women's troika of Deepika, Ankita Bhakat and Komalika Bari failed to make the Olympics as a team with a shock loss to Colombia at the same venue of Paris.
"It would have been better if we qualified as a team as well. But I told them it's not the end of the world for them, they will have opportunities, it's important not to give up and keep up your passion. The next Olympics will be in three years -- and in Paris," Munda said.
India will compete in four events in Tokyo -- men's individual, team, women's individual and mixed pair event.
Munda further said the Indians have worked a lot on the mental toughness, the lack of which is regarded as main reason for their struggle at the Olympics.
"Since we took over, we have had several programmes on mental training. There have been training for the coaches and I'm sure it's been helpful," Munda, who is also Union Minister for tribal affairs, said.
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