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Ticket to Tata Archery Academy

- Four-day selection trial for cradle entry to start from Saturday

Aspiring Deepika Kumaris and Atanu Talukdars will aim the bullseye in their bid to enter the famed Tata Archery Academy (TAA).

About 40 budding archers (boys and girls) from across the country will participate in the four-day selection trials, which will kick off at JRD Tata Sports Complex on May 10. The trials will be conducted in the recurve category.

According to officials of Tata Steel sports department, as many as 24 boys and girls will be shortlisted after the trials for a 20-day camp. The list will be pruned further to 12 (six boys and as many girls) who will be inducted into the academy.

The organisers are expecting a good crowd count at the trials.

“We have informed Archery Association of India (AAI) about the schedule of selection trial. The parent body will inform its affiliated state units. We have also directly intimated a few units about the programme,” said TAA coach and Dronacharya awardee Purnima Mahto.

The cadets at the academy are trained for four years under experienced coaches. Some are given extension based on their performances. Most of the cadets get employment after their graduation. However, some are picked up by employers even before they pass out. For instance, Atanu Das was picked by Indian Oil when he was still honing his skills at the cradle.

The present batch (2010-14) will be passing out in September and will be replaced by those who will be selected after the trials.

“There are at present 18 cadets at the academy. We may extend some of the cadet’s tenure, based on their performance,” she added.

The archery cradle is known to have produced world class archers like Deepika Kumari and Jayanta Talukdar. Both are Olympians and Arjuna awardees. Purnima Mahto, a former archer, has played key role in Golden Girl Deepika’s success.