Vishwas: ‘We feel we are second grades’

The recurve archer alleges apathy by authorities towards athletes not considered medal prospects.

Vishwas (in picture) is a 2006 Asian Games bronze medallist.   -  Sushanta Patronobish

Apathy of authorities towards athletes not considered medal prospects affects their prospects and their morale, according to recurve archer Vishwas, who bowed out of the men’s individual recurve event.

Vishwas, who is employed with Indian Army, said it hurts not to be given proper support by the government to train. “They have no expectations from us and perhaps that’s why they do not include us in TOPS. I am using either borrowed equipment or the one I bought from other archers. Will it not affect you?” Vishwas, a 2006 Asian Games bronze medallist, said.

Read: Fifteen-year-old shooter bags silver

His lot are treated as “second grades,” the archer notes. “If people get support, they get it from all. The [Sports Authority of India], [the Olympic Gold Quest], GoSport. Everyone will support top players. We feel like we are second grades.”

‘Not enough’

Vishwas said he was handed ₹2.5 lakh by the government for the Asian Games but it landed in his account only two days before leaving for Jakarta. “Now that money is still lying in my account. If they had given it before, I could have utilised it. And this is not enough. One proper set with a good bow and 12 arrows cost you more than ₹3-4 lakh. With this ₹2.5 lakh, I can only buy a used one,” he lamented.

MORE FROM THE ASIAN GAMES

“In 2014-15, the budget was ₹2.5 lakh for us and after four years it is the same. When they knew that we have been selected for Asiad, they could have released the funds early. If we ask anything from them, they say first you bring medals then we will help you,” he explained.

Does old equipment make a huge difference to performance? The Pune-based archer replied, “It may not make much difference but what if the used equipment fails me during the competition?”

Vishwas said the Indian Army’s support is crucial and has kept him going. “They are very supportive but the system is such that it takes a long time to complete the formalities and the procedure.”