He left his lucrative job as a pilot to pursue his passion in archery. He thought it was the right decision. But then there was only pain, anguish and disappointment for Isaiah R Sanam, who won a bronze medal in the men’s team in Compound Division of the fourth stage of Archery World Championship at Medellin, Columbia, recently.
He made a comeback of sorts into the Indian team after lying low for three years. His focus now is a medal in the Asian Games, for which he is preparing earnestly.
“It is a big victory as I could prove my mettle on the world stage. I could get into a good rhythm,” said the 37-year-old, who won against many odds.
The Indian team comprising Sandeep Kumar, Sarvesh and Sanam had lost to Italy 229-233 in the semi-finals. In the bronze medal contest, India beat hosts Colombia 231-227. “It was a close contest against Italy and we could have entered the final but for a bad miss by one of our colleagues,” said the city archer, who practices at Gachibowli Stadium.
“It is a stiff competition to win a place in the Indian team. It is a big challenge,” he added.
Winner of two gold medals in the 2008 Asian Championships where he triumphed in the individual and team events, Sanam is livid that his efforts are not recognised by the State.
“I gave up my job as a pilot because I love this sport. I was determined to win laurels for the country and I did it in 2008. But to my misfortune and disappointment, I’m yet to get the due recognition from the State government. Nobody cares and has the time to look at my achievements even as other states have rewarded their archers. Archery is one of the most difficult sports. This is sad, humiliating and embarrassing,” rued Sanam.
Sanam entered the sport much later in his life and has been practicing with minimum facilities. “We hardly get any support. We practice with whatever little we get. Sometimes, we don’t have target pads to practice. This is the sad side of the sport,” shared Sanam.
To further compound his woes, Sanam was troubled by a back injury. “The injury nearly killed my career. But I fought back with long sessions of training. Being out of the Indian team was very painful and I had to start from the scratch to regain my place. Even in Colombia, the back pain surfaced again but my coach wanted me to play in the bronze medal event. I could hold back to win the medal for the country,” he recalled.
Nevertheless, the bronze-medal effort has given Sanam a new belief that he is back in the game. “I lost none of my accuracy or mental sharpness. In archery, that is what matters. I practice for more than five to six hours,’’ he said.
Sanam will now train for the Nationals and in the selection trials for the next Asian Games. “My current goal is to win a medal in the Asian Games,” he said on a parting note.