Lockdown compounds India archers’ woes

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Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The last time India’s compound archers were part of the national camp was April 16. It has been more than one-and-a-half months since the archers last trained in a proper manner. After  SAI had decided to cut short all non-Olympic camps due to rise of Covid cases, the compound archers have been left to fend for themselves. The World Cup Stage III in Paris is a little more than two weeks away. 

The compound squad consists of Abhishek Verma, Rajat Chauhan, Aman Saini and Sangampreet Bisla in the men’s section and among women — V Jyothi Surekha, Pragati, Akshita and Sanchi Dhalla. Among them, five archers are from New Delhi while the rest are from Rajasthan, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.

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Lockdown restrictions are in place in all states and the archers have had difficulty training. For most, it has been a case of training indoors with short distance targets and practicing with the bow to keep the muscles activated. While this can help with muscle memory, it does very little with regards to match sharpness.

“Training during lockdown has been difficult but there is no point in complaining. We have no camp so team or mixed training has also been non-existent. Till the Olympics, recurve is the most important. It is up to us to make the best possible use of this situation. But getting back into match mode will not be easy,” one of the archers said.

With the France World Cup coming up, all of the archers had to come to Delhi for the visa procedure and had to pay from their own pockets. Most of them are hopeful that the federation will reimburse that amount in the days to come. None of the officials were available for a comment.

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“Yes, we paid from our own pockets. We have been reimbursed in the past. We have received no such communication this time around but we are hopeful it will be done,” one of the archers revealed. Among the group, one of the young archers did not have the requisite amount and one of the coaches had to step in and pay on her behalf.

After the travel-related fiasco prior to the departure to Guatemala, the archers are still wary of travelling this time too. “We have received visas but with so many archers staying outside Delhi, if we are to assemble at one given place before travelling, it is going to pose yet another risk. What if there is another positive RT-PCR? We are not staying in a bubble currently so anything is possible,” was how another archer summed up the situation.

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