Archers exit, bitter feelings spill out

DISAPPOINTING India’s Deepika Kumari won one round before crashing out of the recurve women’s event. AFP

India’s recurve archers were shown the door early in the individual competition in the Asian Games and it didn’t take long for the bitter feelings to spill out.

Only Atanu Das among men made the quarterfinal while Deepika Kumari managed to win a round in the women’s event. Rest all withered away in the heat at the GBK archery field.

Atanu was beaten by Riau Agata Salabilla of Indonesia 7-3 in the quarterfinals after coming through two rounds while Viswash won one round before losing in the pre-quarters to Ilfat Abdullin 7-1.

Deepika, who recovered from a bout of dengue fever to make it here, defeated Ri Ji Hyang of North Korea 6-2 in the first round. Chinese Taipei’s Lie Chien-Ying then knocked her out 7-3 in the pre-quarters.

Viswash, an Army man, hit out at the sports ministry’ treatment of archers, with only Atanu among the team being part of the TOP Scheme. “They don’t have focus on us, if they had focus on us, they would have sorted out everything before we came here. The expectations and support don’t go well with each other. But we continue to adapt to things and move on” he said. 

Viswash said they were forced to rely on used bows as the budget sanctioned is not sufficient. “There is little we can do, there is no other option, we need the latest equipment. From the four archers in the team only Atanu is in the TOPS – the rest of us have nothing. Whatever support we have is from the army. If Olympic Gold Quest or TOPS funds us we could buy it directly. Army has a process we have to go through. A brand new set costs over Rs 3 lakh which include the bow and one dozen arrow.”

Viswash said he has not given up hope.  “I hope it changes, that’s why I have been slogging for last 12 years. But I tell myself that I will give my best, there shouldn’t be shortage of effort,” he said.

No lack of support

Meanwhile, an Archery Association of India official denied there was lack of support for the archers. “If someone is representing the country, the government offers full support,” said the official.

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Archers exit, bitter feelings spill out

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