Former India coach blames 'flawed' selection procedure for recurve archers downfall

A former India coach blamed 'flawed' selection policy for the downward spiral of recurve archers, as they prepared to leave for the Asian Games in Indonesia.

Press Trust of India August 13, 2018 20:47:20 IST
Former India coach blames 'flawed' selection procedure for recurve archers downfall

Kolkata: A former India coach blamed "flawed" selection policy for the downward spiral of recurve archers, as they prepared to leave for the Asian Games in Indonesia.

The recurve men's team had last won a World Cup medal – a bronze – in 2016. During the last two years, the Archery Association of India (AAI) tried out more than a dozen archers for the men's team, with 26-year-old Atanu Das being the constant member.

The former coach said they need to go back to the earlier procedure when there were several round of trials that stretched for days.

Former India coach blames flawed selection procedure for recurve archers downfall

Representational image. AFP

"I think the selection procedure is flawed. Now there's only Olympic round in the selection trial – anyone who shoots well in 12-16 arrows gets picked. So almost in every World Cup we have new members with little or no experience that shows at a top event like World Cup," the senior India coach told PTI on condition of anonymity.

Recalling the era under former AAI secretary general Paresh Nath Mukherjee, he said: "During the 2010 Commonwealth Games trials, cumulative scores of qualification and Olympic rounds were considered. Archers would slog for three-four days to get picked."

"We had a set of archers –Jayanta Talukdar, Rahul Banerjee, Tarundeep Rai and Mangal Singh Champia. There was consistency and their experience also paid off. It's really in a sorry state at the moment.

"They would do well in the qualification round to ensure a favourable draw. Now with less experience, they are faltering in the ranking rounds and getting a tough opponent in the elimination stage.

"There's only Atanu Das who has the experience, the rest are good but it's about holding your composure at the top-level which is not that easy," he added.

It was a golden era for the Indian men's recurve team that had won five World Cup gold from 2008 to 10 en route to becoming the world number one in September 2010, which it held till June 2011.

But things went downwards after that. Four years ago, the recurve team returned empty-handed from the Incheon Asian Games, even as the compound section compensated with four medals.

The Jakarta-bound team also has Vishwas, who was a member of the bronze medal winning men's team in Doha 2006 Asian Games.

The recurve section however will be bolstered by the addition of mixed pair event as there will be five medals on offer.

Incidentally, it's the recurve mixed pair event that has given India reasons to rejoice at World Cups in recent past – bronze in Wroclaw 2014, silver medals in Wroclaw 2015 and Antalya 2016.

"I hope Deepika and Atanu stand a chance in recurve mixed pair. Women's team is also strong so we can expect a second there, while I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the individual and men's team event," he said.

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