Archery World Cup cancellation good for Indians, says Rahul Banerjee

Veteran Indian archer, restricted to home target-practice due to the nationwide lockdown, feels more preparation needed for a world level tournament.

By Subhayan Dutta

Ace Indian archer Rahul Banerjee has welcomed World Archery’s decision to cancel the World Cup - an important event in the annual calendar season – stating that the lockdown due to the COVID pandemic wasn’t enabling him to prepare.

While India have secured four quotas at the Tokyo Olympics so far - Atanu Das, Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadhav in Men’s Individual Recurve and team event and Deepika Kumari in the women’s recurve individual event - Rahul Banerjee still hopes to make it through the trials once things get back to normal.

After international sporting events were suspended in mid-March owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, sports associations have now started resuming training in a controlled fashion.

And while World Archery has encouraged nations to host small events as warm-up tournaments, the annual international competition circuit stands cancelled.

For Asian Games medallist and Olympian Rahul Banerjee, it was the right move.

“We haven’t been preparing for the past few months, so this decision is good,” Rahul Banerjee told the Olympic Channel. “It gives us more time for preparation more than anything else.

“Some countries have started training. In Korea, they are holding fresh Olympic trials as well. But in many countries, like India, the situation needs to improve,” Banerjee, an Arjuna Awardee said.

Rahul Banerjee was one of the medal favourites at London 2012

Under the circumstances, World Archery will not freeze the rankings from September 1 and will keep them open until April 1, 2021. And while new rankings will be added during this period, no points will be cut.

Home practice keeping Rahul sharp

Rahul Banerjee said Indian archers were waiting to hear about the next set of plans. 

“We haven’t been updated by the Archery Association of India (AAI). The last update we got was that the events were starting from July end,” he said.

“The National Games were also supposed to happen at the year-end, but everything has been postponed,” Banerjee added.

The 33-year-old has been keeping himself sharp by practising at home on small distance targets, like most other archers.

I got a small target at my drawing room and I practice there. Normally, we are doing 10m for form training,” Rahul Banerjee said.

“But until we start doing distance training, our progress cannot really be measured,” he pointed out.