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Eye of the fish for focus on gold
- Schoolchildren gift Olympics archery team a painting for inspiration

A group of Calcutta schoolchildren has invoked the spirit of Arjuna to spur the Indian archery team to a podium finish at the London Olympics.

Two students and four teachers of Lakshmipat Singhania Academy visited the Sports Authority of India complex at Salt Lake stadium last Monday to gift the archers a canvas depicting that epic scene from the Mahabharata where Arjuna’s bow targets the eye of a rotating fish above.

Arjuna’s reward for hitting the fish eye by looking at its reflection below was Draupadi’s hand in marriage. The Indian archery team has gold and glory to aim for.

In the middle of the schoolchildren’s painting is the message: “Lakshmipat Singhania Academy wishes the Indian delegation for Olympics in archery all the best. Return with gold…more gold…and still more gold.”

Sahil Majithia, a student of Class XII, said archers Rahul Banerjee and Tarun Deep Rai were delighted with the gift and promised to do their best on the big stage. “We wished them luck…. Rahul Banerjee and Tarun Deep Rai thanked us for the canvas, saying it was beautiful.”

The students also met Jayanta Talukdar, Deepika Kumari, Bombaila Devi and Cherovolu Swuro, who will be practising at the SAI complex along with Rahul and Tarun Deep till July 14.

“We are glad they could give us some time. They have been busy practising for the Olympics and every minute is important for them,” said Utkarsh Agarwal, a student of Class IX.

Rahul, whose sister Dola is also an ace archer, said the painting would constantly remind him and his teammates to stay focused. “This is the first time that a group of students have made an effort to motivate us and we appreciate that. It shows that schoolchildren are interested in Olympic sport and are not averse to taking up one as a career.”

The initiative came from teacher Darshan Singh Gill, who decided to get his students “engaged” in the Olympics rather than just be spectators after seeing a Facebook post.“There was a picture of boxer Mary Kom cutting a cake at a function organised by Olympic Gold Quest. I immediately got in touch with the organisation, which is the brainchild of Geet Sethi and Prakash Padukone, to know how our students in Calcutta could get involved,” Gill recounted.

So what did the students learn from their interaction with the would-be Olympians? “Their single-minded pursuit of a goal is worth emulating,” said Sahil, who has played cricket in the under-16 CAB league.

Principal Meena Kak said sport was as integral a part of the school’s philosophy as study. “Interacting with champions in any sport gives children the impetus to pursue what they are good at,” she said.

Coming up next is a poster-making and graphic design competition for classes III to XII with Olympics as the theme. Select entries will be sent to Olympic Gold Quest, which will award the best ones.