India’s men’s and women’s recurve archers have been training at Pune’s Army Sports Institute ever since sporting facilities resumed in the country after the Covid-19 induced lockdown. The camp for the Archery team commenced on August 25 and the archers are happy to be back training again.
“It was difficult for the first couple of days after returning to training as we were training very intensely in March prior to the lockdown being imposed. This was the longest gap between training that I have ever had,” said Atanu Das who was honoured with the Arjuna Award earlier this year.
Training is still in the initial phase with some athletes coming out of their quarantine recently.
Coach Majhi Sawaiyan feels general fitness is more of a priority at the moment. “Players are gradually coming out of quarantine. We are working on general fitness with emphasis on strength and endurance. To work on the mental aspect, the athletes are doing yoga and meditation.”
The archers are happy with the safety protocols and other preventive measures that have been taken at ASI to prevent coronavirus. Former world number one recurve archer Deepika Kumari said, “The arrangements here are very good. It’s very clean and food arrangements are good. We are being looked after very well here.”
In a mentally challenging sport like archery, adjusting to new safety protocols have brought their challenges but the archers are confident that it will not make much of a difference and a few months of training will help them find their old rhythm.
The men’s recurve team and Deepika have earned quota spots for the Olympics which will be held in July-August next year in Tokyo. The women’s recurve team will get a final opportunity to qualify for the Olympics at the World Qualification Tournament scheduled to be held next year.