The Telegraph
Sunday , February 27 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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Medals elude winners

Jamshedpur, Feb. 26: The blame game over Jharkhand’s disastrous show in archery individual events has started.

Though officials and coaches have blamed everything from wind pattern to inadequate practice sessions to the newly-introduced set system for the dismal show, a closer look into the state of affairs tells a very different story.

Complacency coupled with lack of motivation apparently played a large role in the outfit not being able to win gold in the individual rounds. The likes of Jayanta Talukdar, Mangal Singh Champia, Deepika Kumari, Lakshmi Rani Majhi, Rimil Biruily and Jhano Hansda fared poorly.

“Archery has climbed up the popularity chart and money is pouring in. Money and a celebrity status can play havoc with anybody’s concentration, particularly those who come from modest backgrounds,” an office bearer of state archery association, who has been involved with the sport for over a decade now, said.

Barring upcoming cadets of Tata Archery Academy (TAA) — Atanu Das, Pawan Xalco and Seema Verma — most state recurve and compound archers are financially well off.

A senior archer claimed that the celebrity participants, who have been hogging the limelight for some years, were not very well prepared for the Games. “Though Deepika won three gold medals in the recently-concluded senior national championship, she was not ready for the Games,” he said, adding that the expectations from the 17-year-old were too high. The result was her concentration took a beating in crunch situations at the JRD Tata Sports Complex.

According to an official, Deepika sailed into the final of the women’s recurve, but lost her concentration against Prativa Boro, who is more than double her age. “Her shooting was not all that good. This happens when either an archer is not fully fit or is unable to concentrate,” the official explained.

Similar was the case with Olympian Mangal, Tata Steel’s Jayanta, Jhano of Jharkhand Police and Namita Yadav of the Railways. While Jayanta lost to Pawan in the quarter-finals, Mangal cut a sorry figure against little-known Priyank of Uttar Pradesh.

Veteran Jhano felt the heat in the compound quarters, while Namita somehow managed to cling on to the bronze. Rimil and Lakshmi also exited early in the elimination round.

Jharkhand Archery Association (JAA) working secretary L. Murty said the set system affected performance. “The set system gives limited opportunity to the archers while competing in the individual recurve and compound divisions. The earlier scoring system gave archers a chance to bounce back by improving their scores. They also had more arrows to shoot,” he added.

Murty, however, kept mum when reminded that the set system was applicable to all participating teams.

Jharkhand coach Dharmendra Tiwary blamed inadequate practice sessions for the poor show. “We had a week-long camp in Jamshedpur. The archers then went to compete in the senior nationals at Vijaywada. Only few came back to attend a short training camp. We could not house team members in one place. A close-knit team is needed for such big competitions,” Tiwary said.

Harendra Singh, coach of Jharkhand compound team, blamed the strong wind for the poor show. “The wind was blowing hard which affected scores. The trajectory of the arrows was heavily affected,” he explained.

But, like Murty, he had no explanation when told that other participating archers shot under similar conditions.

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