NEW DELHI: Only seven months are left for the Tokyo Olympics. With the exception of a few sports, most Indian athletes are busy preparing for the quadrennial extravaganza with their designated foreign coaches.
With the Archery Association of India (AAI) suspended, the Transitory Committee, in charge of handling AAI affairs, has decided that the recurve archers need help and have informed Sports Authority of India of the same. SAI has advertised for the position of a foreign coach for both men and women but his/her tenure will be till the Games.
In their meeting on December 21, the Transitory Committee spoke of archers having a foreign coach at least till Tokyo. Applications are open till January 29. Most countries have already hired the best in the business so it remains to be seen whether a quality addition can be made.
“There is a panel in SAI which checks whether the profile of the foreign coach is up to the mark. We will hire the best available at this moment. If the coach is not up to the mark, we will not consider for an extension,” a top SAI official informed. A performance review will be done post-Tokyo.
Most Indian archers train on their own. Very few have their own personal coaches. With AAI unable to help, the committee has decided to step in and try and salvage the situation. “We cannot just sit back and watch. This is a crucial time and help provided at this stage can yield results. The main thing to remember is that some help is better than none at all,” a member of the committee added.
The archers, however, are not of the same opinion. According to most, there is very little time to actually implement changes in shooting techniques or correcting flaws. “This should have been done four years ago. Most top countries have their roadmap ready and start work as soon as one Olympics gets over. What will we achieve with this? There is hardly any time to change anything,” one of the archers said on the condition of anonymity.
Others were of the opinion that some other help could have been provided instead of this. “Why not hire a mental trainer instead? Or actually provide decent equipment? These are more necessary than hiring a foreign coach now. And most top coaches are already employed. Who will we get?” was the opinion of another archer. India’s men’s team acquired an Olympic quota during the World Championships. Apart from that, Deepika Kumari has also secured an individual quota place.