How Komalika Bari went from cycling 18km per day to winning an Archery World Cup medal
An integral part of the Women’s Recurve Team which won the gold medal in Guatemala, Komalika Bari is just 18 years old
The Indian archers put up some stunning performances at the recently concluded Archery World Cup Stage 1 at Guatemala, clinching three gold and one bronze to end the tournament with a total of 4 medals.
The three gold medals came from Men's and Women's Individual Recurve, Women's Team Recurve, whilst solitary bronze came in the Mixed Team Recurve.
While three archers – Atanu Das, Deepika Kumari and Ankita Bhakat ended the tournament with multiple medals at the World Cup, one archer who flew under the radar at Guatemala was the very young Komalika Bari.
An integral part of the Women's Recurve Team which won the gold medal, Komalika Bari is just 18 years old. Hailing from Birsanagar in Jamshedpur, Bari rose to fame when she became was crowned champion at the World Youth Archery and Cadet Championships 2019 in Madrid.
Though Komalika Bari's talent was quite obviously visible since her childhood, her rise to the top was never easy.
Cycling 18kms every day to train
Komalika Bari comes from a typical Indian middle-class household. Her father, Ghanshyam Bari, works as a LIC agent while her mother is a homemaker. Though the family did not face extreme financial hardships, money was not easy either.
As in most middle-class Indian household, the Bari family wanted her daughter to excel in academics, and archery was just a means to it. Komalika started practicing archery, not with an aim of becoming a professional archer, but only to increase her concentration and get better at studies.
She started archery at the ISWP training centre at Jamshedpur in 2012 under the tutelage of Sushanto Patro. The youngster rose through the ranks quickly and was selected by the prestigious Tata Archery Academy (TAA) in the year 2016.
The TAA has been the breeding ground for the likes of Deepika Kumari and other top archers in the country. So when the opportunity presented itself, it was hard for Komalika to ignore the prospect of training at the best institute in the country.
But the concern for agreeing to train at the TAA was the fact that it was 9 kilometers from her home in Birsanagar.
Traveling 18kms, to and fro, in a day just to train is not easy for anyone, let alone for a 14-year-old. But such was Komalika's dedication and passion for the sport that she took it in her stride and started cycling 18kms every day to gradually better herself as an archer.