GANGTOK, 17 May: The Archery Olympic Camp for the Indian Olympic Archery Team, being hosted in Sikkim for the first time, began at Paljor Stadium today. Due to unfavourable weather conditions in Kolkata, the Archery Association of India [AAI] shifted the Archery camp to Paljor Stadium, it is informed. The coaching camp is scheduled to continue till 07 June.
The men’s and women’s archery teams comprising of three members each will be undergoing around three weeks of coaching here. The women’s team comprises of Deepika Kumari, L Bombyala Devi and Chekrovolu Swuro, who have already qualified for the upcoming London Olympics 2012 in the individual and team events. Likewise, the men’s team has Sikkim’s own Tarundeep Rai, Jayanta Talukdar and Rahul Banerjee, among them only Jayanta Talukdar has qualified for the London Olympic 2012 in individual category so far. Tarundeep and Rahul have their last chance to qualify for the Olympics in the 3rd Stage of the Archery World Cup Tournament scheduled to be held at Ogden in USA from 17 to 24 June.
The archers are undergoing training under chief coach, Limba Ram Ahari and assisted by coach, Ravi Shankar and coach, Purnima Mahato. The team is also accompanied by physiotherapist, Jaideep Das Choudhuri and masseur Anup Das.
Addressing a press conference today, AAI general secretary, Paresh Nath Mukherjee mentioned that due to very hot and humid weather at Kolkata, which is not suitable for archers for practice, the archery Olympic camp has been shifted temporarily to Gangtok from its home camp at SAI Kolkata. He further mentioned that although some other places also have similar weather like Gangtok but due to the interest shown by the Sikkim Archery Association [SAA] the camp is being held at Gangtok.
Mr Mukherjee stressed that these three weeks of the camp are very crucial and important for archers to prepare themselves for the competition. He encouraged archers to make the best use of the condition and facilities available at Gangtok. He mentioned that these six archers have been selected for the Olympic team, in which Tarundeep Rai and Rahul Banerjee now have to get their quotas for the London Olympic.
He mentioned that the Olympic games will have 12 teams each in men’s and women’s and 9 have already qualified in the men’s category and the Indian Archery men’s team now has to qualify for the London Olympic in their last chance at the 3rd Stage of the Archery World Cup Tournament at Ogden. He expressed hope that the men’s team will make it to this year’s London Olympic.
SAA president, PHE Minister, TT Bhutia, stated that it was a proud moment for Sikkim to host the Olympic camp in the state and it was also a big achievement for the SAA. He further mentioned that such a camp would also encourage local players in their game.
He wished the archers luck for the Olympics and added that the SAA has also planned to demonstrate traditional archery to these international archers during the camp at Gangtok.
Chief Coach, Mr Ahari mentioned that the weather conditions at Gangtok is suitable for archers to continue long sessions of practice and its similarity with conditions in London would also help them prepare better.
Tarundeep mentioned that at present the confidence level of the men’s team is quite high and in good form. He added that the team has high hopes to qualify for the London Olympic in their last chance at Ogden. Likewise, other archers stated that the camp at Gangtok would help them to concentrate more on practice and help in their upcoming competitions.
As on 12 May 2012, Indian Women’s Archery team is on second position and Indian Men’s Archery team on the fifth position in the world, while Indian women’s archer Deepika Kumari is on the fifth position in the world ranking.
It may also be mentioned that impressive performance in international level competitions by Sikkim’s Tarundeep Rai and Chungda Sherpa is also a reason for the AAI choosing Sikkim for this prestigious camps.