CHENNAI:The Archery World Cup Stages 1 (Shanghai, May 16 to 21) and 2 (Antalya, June 6 to 11) will feature relatively new-look Indian recurve teams after three U-25 men and three U-22 women excelled during the selection trials at the DDA Yamuna Sports Complex in New Delhi on Monday.
Olympians Atanu Das (25) and Deepika Kumari (22) lead the aforementioned young group comprised of Dhaniram Basumatary (22), Indrachand Swami (20), Monika Saren (20) and Ankita Bhakat (18), respectively. Rounding off the foursomes are experienced representatives Vishwas (32) and Preeti (26).
On the other hand, Olympians Mangal Singh Champia and Laxmirani Majhi only made the B team for World Cup Stage 3 (Salt Lake City, June 20 to 25).
Speaking to Express, women’s coach Purnima Mahato said the performances of Monika and Ankita meant the future is bright and the pool of youngsters is headed in the right direction.
“Both these girls are improving every day and it feels good to know that the younger lot can hold their own while competing with experienced campaigners. Given that they’ve had to qualify and go through a round-robin phase like everyone else, it makes their efforts that much better. Also, since the other half consists of veterans like Deepika and Preeti, it lends a sense of balance to the squad,” Purnima opined.
However, men’s coach Dharmendra Tiwari isn’t as pleased with his main line-up, saying a more thorough programme should be in place to ensure the best four (in terms of consistency) make up the team.
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy for those that have been selected, but can younglings like Dhaniram and Indrachand withstand the consistent level the opposition is going to throw at them?“That’s where experience comes in handy. More important are the Asian Games and World Championships. Maybe one should have best-of-three trials so that we know the result is not one-off,” Tiwari stated.
It’s worth debating whether the Archery Association of India should have better plans in place when choosing the teams. But one of the best ways to put this discussion to bed is the youngsters proving their mettle in battle in a month’s time.