Padma Shri awardee Deepika Kumari and former junior world champion Paltan Hansda who learnt the nuances of archery at Kharsawan, justifies the ambitious plans of Seraikela-Kharsawan District Archery Association of trying to produce more such world class players.
Nearly 100 archers (boys and girls) in the under-9, under-12 and under-14 age group are undergoing training at Maa Damidiri archery ground at Kharsawan, 51 km from Jamshedpur.
"Both Deepika and Paltan learnt archery lessons during their formative years in Kharsawan. Training these budding archers is a serious attempt to find more Deepikas and Paltans in future," said SKDAA secretary Sumanta Mohanty.
Mohanty, joint secretary of Archery Association of India (AAI) said, "The beginners are shooting at the target kept at a distance of 5m. Our coaches Sumit Mishra, Rajiv Mohanty and Shib Kumar Kumbhakar are presently focussing on the posture, draw and the grip. Trainees are making slow but steady progress."
Meera Munda, president of SKDAA and wife of Union tribal affairs minister Arjun Munda, has presented Indian round bows and arrows as well as quiver,chest guard, finger tape, arm guard and bow stand to the trainees who hail from Kharsawan as and its interior pockets.
In Indian round, archers shoot with traditional wooden bows and arrows.
"Trainees are taking baby steps in archery but they will become adjusted to shooting technique in due course of time. We feel happy for the interest being shown by the trainees. It would be a huge achievement if we manage to make some of these trainees follow in the footsteps of Deepika and Paltan," said coach Mishra, a former archer.
Most of the trainees are aware about the exploits of Deepika and Paltan. They recently wished Deepika, a Padma Shri and former world number 1, for the Olympic Games to be held in Tokyo, Japan in July this year.
Deepika first learnt archery at Arjuna Archery Academy in Kharsawan in 2005 before heading to the elite Tata Archery Academy in Jamshedpur the following year. Paltan, on the other hand, hails from Kharsawan and also took initial archery lessons in Kharsawan. Paltan won gold (in compound division) at the Ninth Junior and Third Cadet World Archery Championship held at Merida in Mexico in 2006. He is working for the Railways and presently posted in Bilaspur, Chhatisgarh.
Mohanty said the trainees would be gradually put into the globally acceptable recurve division. "Putting the trainees into recurve division is a long process but we have definite plans to go for in a gradual manner. We also have plans to produce Olympians in future," the SKDAA secretary added.
Needless to say, Seraikela-Kharsawan is the cradle for archery in Jharkhand.