With another disappointing show in the Tokyo Olympics, the Archery federation is looking at a "fresh start", shifting the national camp of recurve team from Pune to Sonepat where they will hold a two-day selection trials on August 4-5. This will mean the four recurve archers in Tokyo, who are slated to arrive on August 2, will get one-day's time in between before heading to Sonepat where the trials will happen for the Yankton World Championships slated from September 19-26.
Atanu Das is the only Indian remained in the hunt for a medal in the individual event at the Tokyo Games, as his world number one wife Deepika Kumari on Friday made a quarterfinal exit losing to eventual winner An San of Korea in straight sets. The men's and the mixed pair teams were earlier knocked out by the Koreans in their respective quarterfinal matches. "One Olympic cycle has just ended. This World Championship is the first tournament for the next Olympic cycle (Paris 2024).
We want to start afresh and give everyone fair chances," AAI secretary general Pramod Chandurkar told PTI. "They had camp in (Army Sports Institute) Pune for a long time before the Olympics. For the time being, we will hold the camp in Sonepat then we will take a call." Atanu Das, Pravin Jadhav and 39-year-old Army veteran Tarundeep Rai who has already announced his retirement after the Olympics, are the three male archers of the Indian team. Deepika Kumari was the lone female member from India after the women's team failed to qualify for the Olympics.
"We don't want disturb the balance of the team atmospheres but at the same time we want to give opportunity to the emerging talents. We may see a third archer emerging from the trial," Chandurkar said. Originally the trial was slated in mid August but fresh Visa guidelines from the Yankton local organising committee forced the AAI to advance the dates. "It will be a bit of trouble for the Tokyo archers but there was no other way as the LOC wanted the passport details immediately to meet the Visa guidelines of USA."
The Indian team's chief coach Lim Bahadur Gurung, who is also retiring later this year, is also likely to be changed. "It will depend on the archers making the cut for the World Championships. Archery being an individual sport, the archers have the say in picking the coach." SAI Centre of Excellence in Sonepat has been the practice venue for compound archers for a long time. The compound archers will be the first to go for trials from August 2-3.