NEW DELHI: WITH the Sports Authority of India notifying all archers and their coaches that only a top-12 finish in the trails can guarantee a place in the national camp, Asian Games gold medallist Abhishek Verma, who was suffering from acute viral fever for the last five days, was forced to dig deep and find the strength to take part in the trials. He ended up finishing 11th and secured a place in the camp.
The 30-year-old finished ninth after the first round amidst torrential downpour. That led to the fever increasing and he was forced to miss the second part of the trial. Severe shivering followed and he was rushed to Nidaan Hospital in Sonepat where he was put under medical care. His body temperature had touched 104.
“I was leading initially. Then when the rain started, I started shivering badly and ended up ninth. I was suffering from high fever even before the trials started but with the new rule in place, I could not afford to miss out on Asian Championship qualification. I had to find the mental strength to carry on and keep fighting,” he told this daily from the hospital.
Incidentally, the trials in the compound section saw very low scores from most of the archers involved.
The Arjuna awardee is still receiving intravenous drip and is not fit enough to compete.
Though no official communication has been issued by SAI, many are claiming that only the top four will take part in the Asian Championships. Abhishek has written to the authorities in-charge of conducting trials to ask them to hold fresh trials so that he gets another shot at making the team for the Bangkok event.
The letter, in possession with TNIE, has been signed by fellow compound archers as well as the coaches. It remains to be seen what step the authorities now take.
To add to archers’ woes, the national camp for compound archers is being shifted from SAI Northern Regional Centre, Sonepat, to the National Boxing Academy, Rohtak. This was intimated to the archers after they assembled in Sonepat for the trials.
The compound camp has been running in Sonepat for over five years and the archers do not want to move. Initially, talks were going on to shift the archers to Pune, where the recurve archers train. “The Rohtak centre is too small to hold a national camp. How can all of us be accommodated there? There is no proper hostel or ground and it will prove to be a downgrade for us from here,” an archer said on conditions of anonymity.
Most of the compound archers requested SAI officials in-charge of the Sonepat unit to not go ahead with the plan. SAI officials in Sonepat could not be contacted regarding the matter.