New Delhi: Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju felicitated the Indian archery contingent for their superlative performance at the World Archery Championships held in Hertogenbosh, Netherlands last week. Meeting the archers at the Sports Authority of India headquarters here the Minister congratulated them for winning an Olympic quota for Tokyo 2020 and bagging three medals in the Championship.
India won one silver and two bronze medals at the event, making it the best-ever medal haul in an Archery World Championship. India had won two silver medals in the same event in 2015, which is the country’s second best performance at the Championship. The Indian men’s recurve team comprising Atanu Das, Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadhav won a silver medal at the Championships.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister said that government is going to extend all assistance to these players, and also to those who have performed well in other sports and have the potential to win an Olympic medal. He further said that government will provide all the support the athletes ask for – be it in coaching or technical facilities. Rijiju said, “I am very happy that the men’s team has already won an Olympic quota, and even the women archers are very confident. India has traditionally been very strong in archery and if we can win an Olympic gold in the sport then we will be able to prove that.”
Archer Atanu Das made his international debut in 2008 and his current world ranking is 22.Tarun Deep Rai, who started his career as an archer in 2003, at the age of 19, was also a part of the last Indian men’s recurve team that won a silver medal in the World Archery Championship in 2005.
Pravin Jadhav started his career in athletics and took up professional archery a year into his training in athletics, and has excelled in it. The son of a daily wage labourer, he says though the equipment for archery is expensive, he was able to pursue the sport because of the support he received through Government schemes.
With this year’s silver, the men’s team earned a quota for next year’s Tokyo Olympics, which also assured the Indian men three full athlete quotas for the individual recurve event at the Olympics.
In the women’s category, Jyothi Surekha Vennam won India’s first individual medal in women’s compound archery as she clinched a bronze medal following a shoot-off win over Turkey’s Yesim Bostan. Vennam is also a trained swimmer and entered Limca Book of Records at the age of 4 for crossing the Kaveri river three times.
This was also Vennam’s second world championship team medal, as she was a part of the Indian team that won silver at the 2017 World Championships. Vennam had won five mixed team medals at World Cup events in 2018 including the World Cup final. The Indian women’s compound team has had a stellar run since the beginning of 2018, when they won the silver medal at the Asian Games as well as the silver at the Berlin and Antalya World Cups. Vennam and Muskan Kirar were a part of all these victories. Kirar’s first international win was in 2017, but her big win before the World Championship was the gold medal in the women’s compound final event at the Archery Asia Cup, stage-1 competition in Bangkok in March 2018.
Besides extending all training support, Sports Authority of India is also making arrangements for a mental trainer for the team to help them improve their focus and skills, in preparation for the Olympics.