Archery: a sport behind veils

I was turning down the pages of a renowned year book and to my utter disappointment I could not find a glimpse of the word archery in sports section. The world has entirely set to the grandiose sports like cricket, lawn tennis, formula one, chess, etc. Such games have grabbed the attention of sports enthusiasts and have been hyped by the media which turns archery and swimming into a wide goose chase institution. Since hockey is India’s national game and football is getting popular these days with the increase in the influence of English Premier League (EPL), many among us have taken initiatives to raise our voice for such sports.


Archery has its footprints from the heydays of the kings and rulers in India. Arjuna and Karna are the most significant archers in Hindu mythology. Historically this sport has been of great significance. But now it needs to be given proper attention at national level. This game which won World Championships in 2007 gets “step motherly treatment” as said by Vijay Kumar Malhotra, president of Archery Association of India, who raised his voice against the government and media, which have ignored other sports in order to promote cricket.


Archery, a game that involves bow and arrow, is the national game of the kingdom of Bhutan and can also be called as indigenous game of Meghalaya, as the festivals of the state are incomplete without practicing archery. This very game dates back to the late Paleolithic or early Mesolithic age. Many archers have been deities or heroes in various mythologies that include Greek God Apollo, Roman Cupid, Babylonian Marduk and Indian Arjuna.


‘Antalya’- the archery grand slam is coming to its closure. How many of us know about it? On the sideways of IPL, World Championship was taking place as well, but most of us bothered to focus on IPL as it helps in filling the coffers out of commercialization.


“The fearsome trio of Jayanta Talukdar, Rahul Bannerjee and Mangal Singh Champia beat Russian Federation side 220-218 to earn the Indian team recurve gold in archery World cup stage 2 at Porec in Croatia”- This news went unnoticed as people were more bothered to know what is going on in IPL, who has been given captaincy and who has been dropped from various teams.


After winning world title in Great Britain in 2008 and in Turkey in 2005, Dola Bannerjee did not get due acknowledgement by the West Bengal government. Similar is the struggle of the Eklavya Arch Academy.The academy which is situated in Naswadi district of Vadodara in Gujarat has been struggling for its survival. The academy is inspired by Limba Ram, the champion at 1992 Beijing Olympics. Dinesh, the winner of gold and two silver medals at 1997 National Championships says “Our aim is to win medals at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and the 2012 London Olympics. I appeal to philanthropists to adopt the academy till 2012 and see the results for themselves.”


Archery in India is governed and supervised by the Archery Association of India (AAI). This association helps in providing the basic facilities for pursuing this sport and also helps in encouraging the youngsters to give a try to archery. But this alone is not enough to raise the status of such a sport. The die-hard effort of the archers must also be taken into consideration by the government and proper initiatives must be taken in order to promote the sport in the country.


Sara Khan

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