India’s junior programme needs to be fine tuned

Men’s compound gold winner, Deepak Karmakar of India (centre, back row) flanked by team-mate Sanjay Swansi (silver) and Nepal’s Dil Kumar Gurung (bronze).-Men’s compound gold winner, Deepak Karmakar of India (centre, back row) flanked by team-mate Sanjay Swansi (silver) and Nepal’s Dil Kumar Gurung (bronze).

True to pre-tournament billing, India lived up to the expectations by winning the maximum number of medals — 37 gold, 21 silver and four bronze, writes S. Sabanayakan.

India made a small but very significant contribution to world archery by introducing its traditional bamboo bow and arrows in an international tournament during the second South Asian Championship held in Jamshedpur (March 7 to 9).

The championship, in which teams from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and host India participated, showcased the talent from India that stood head and shoulder above the rest. The traditional form of archery, practised only in India for decades, opened up new avenues for the third-world countries to take up this sport without much financial commitment.

A modern fibre glass equipment can cost anywhere between Rs. 80,000 to one lakh. Most of the top notch Indian archers had, at some point of time in their early careers, used the traditional bow and arrow and graduated to modern equipment with considerable success.

The championship itself was a welcome one what with the rest of the South Asian countries struggling to develop in the sport. The second edition also introduced compound bow section, a hugely popular form of archery in the United States and Europe but was shunned by world leaders South Korea whose forte is recurve bow, an Olympic event.

Adonda Raju won the recurve gold.-

True to pre-tournament billing, India lived up to the expectations by winning the maximum number of medals — 37 gold, 21 silver and four bronze — from the three forms of bows to emerge the champion in the three-day meet. A clean sweep of medals by India was averted by the rule that a country could win only two medals per event.

India took the opportunity to field its junior and sub-junior archers, keeping in mind the importance of building a crack outfit for the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, Asian Junior Championship in 2009 and the World Youth Championship in Turkey in October this year.

Yet, the loss of one gold medal in the men’s recurve 30m to Nepal was a major disappointment. Nepal’s Prem Prasad Pun won the gold in the event and that rudely shook up the Archery Association of India (AAI) from its slumber.

India, which has made rapid strides in recurve bow section in recent years, will have to fine tune its junior programme to ensure a steady flow of talented archers to the senior ranks.

Namita Yadav winner of the individual championship in compound bow.-

India has some of the finest talents in Adonda Raju, Rajib Basumatary and V. Pranitha (recurve bow), Sanjay Swansi, Renso Purty, Deepak Karmakar and National champion Namita Yadav (compound bow) to look to. There are a number of good archers in the sub-junior section as well to shore up the talent pool.

An Olympic medal at the abode of cricket, the Lord’s, in 2012 can be a reality, even if India fails at the Beijing Olympics, provided the AAI begins preparing the Indian team right away.