Indian archers target Tokyo once more as training camp resumes

The Army Institute in Pune will see 16 recurve archers, four coaches and two support staff in action from August 25.

By Subhayan Dutta

Indian archers with a chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics will resume their training at the Army Sports Institute in Pune from August 25. The Sports Authority of India cleared the camp on Thursday.

The archers had been at their homes since international sporting events were suspended mid-March with the Archery Association of India (AAI) initially seeking a restart in late July.

Now, with the recent relaxations in the lockdown in India, sporting activities are gradually returning with the hockey and badminton players having started their preparations. Archery will be next.

The Pune institute will see 16 recurve archers - eight men and eight women – apart from four coaches and two support staff reporting on August 25 before they undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine.

The Sports Authority of India has made COVID-19 tests mandatory for all athletes joining national camps apart from following the Health Ministry guidelines.

Indian archers Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das.

All eyes on the Olympics 

The 16 archers starting their Olympic preparations are Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das, B Dhiraj, Pravin Jadhav, Jayanta Talukdar, Sukhmanu Babrekar, Kapil Kumar and Vishwas for men.

The women’s team will be led by Deepika Kumari, with Ankita Bhakat, Bombayla Devi Laishram, Ridhi Phor, Madhu Vedwan, Himani Boro, Pramila Baria and Tisha Sancheti making the cut.

India has clinched a full quota in men’s archery with Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das and Pravin Jadhav booking places for the Olympics next year. Deepika Kumari, on the other hand, remains India’s only woman archer to earn an Olympic quota.

The women archers will get one last chance at Olympic qualification during the Paris stage of the Archery World Cup scheduled to be held in June next year.

After the World Archery cancelled the World Cup and the World Archery Championships last month, new provisional dates were announced giving the Indian archers a target to set as soon as they return to training.

Though the two grand archery events of the year have been cancelled, the world body has nonetheless encouraged countries to host small events as warm-up tournaments.