Time the biggest enemy for archer Tarundeep Rai's Olympic dreams

Following the postponement of the Tokyo Games, 36-year-old archer Tarundeep Rai has only one concern – he is getting older.

Waiting to compete in his third Olympics, two-time World championships team silver medallist Rai is assessing the challenges the new scenario may pose before him. (File photo)   -  H VIBHU

Following the postponement of the Tokyo Games, 36-year-old archer Tarundeep Rai has only one concern – he is getting older.

Waiting to compete in his third Olympics in his 17-year-old international career, two-time World championships team silver medallist Rai is assessing the challenges the new scenario may pose before him.

“The postponement is a loss for every athlete. In my case, I am 36 years old. Next year, I will be 37. I am not getting younger, but if I train harder then I will not lag behind. You get more time (due to postponement), but someone like me is growing older day by day. For that, I have to start afresh,” Rai told Sportstar.

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Rai, who competed in 2004 Athens and 2012 London Olympics, bagged recurve men’s team silver medals in 2005 Madrid and 2019 Den Bosch World championships. The Den Bosch medal, which he earned with Atanu Das and Pravin Jadhav, helped India secure a men’s team slot and earned three individual quota places in the Olympics.

The Armyman looked at the brighter side. “We have to take it positively. The archery community may suffer if we look at the negatives. The good thing is that we have already qualified. The younger generation of the country can also get a chance (as the quota place belongs to the country). The younger generation should grab the chance as they will not get another such opportunity.”

Sharing his ideas about training during the lock-down, Rai said, “Whatever archery specific exercises are there, one should do that. In this age of internet, everything is available on one’s phone. One should take advantage of that. When the lock-down ends, then one should be ready to resume shooting.”

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Rai, who has not been to his home in Sikkim for about a year now, was part of the National camp at the Army Sports Institute, Pune. Even after the camp was shut down on March 22, he could not go home.

Now, it is impossible to travel during the nationwide lockdown.

In the time of social distancing, Rai, nevertheless, is happy to have stayed connected with his family from a distance. “At least, I am safe here and my family is safe in Sikkim. I am getting a lot of time to speak to my family,” said Rai.

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