"No one seems to be forgetting it," Archer Pragati on comeback from medical issues after winning two medals at National Games
Pragati Choudhary bagged two silver medals in compound individual and compound mixed team archery at the ongoing 2022 National Games.
The 17-year-old has been an inspiration to many, thanks to her comeback to the sport following a brain hemorrhage and being in a coma for several days during the peak covid-19 pandemic in May and June 2020.
Pragati has since made her way back to the Indian team, even representing the country in a World Cup, but the Delhi girl believes people are yet to forget about the tough time she had endured.
"To be honest, I have completely forgotten about it. But no one else seems to be forgetting about it. Please try and forget it," laughed Pragati after pocketing the second of her two silver medals at the National Games.
"I do not even remember the time I spent in the hospital. I was living in the memories of the 2019 Junior World Championships, I played in Spain. I consider it to be the best tournament I ever played and it was just the memories of that tournament which pulled me through," she told The Bridge.
Pragati revealed that as soon as she reached back home from the hospital, she was restless to feel the bow in her hand.
"I used to keep telling muje practice pe jana hai (I want to go to practice). But I was not even allowed to see my bow during that period, which was fair because there was no way I could have pulled the string…I was that weak. I used to keep crying to get back to the field," she said.
Pragati, who took up archery on the recommendation of a neighbor who was associated with the Archery Association of India (AAI), also threw light on her road back to recovery.
"My coach Vikas sir used to visit me daily at home to help with my treatment. The physiotherapist Nitin Chauhan, who used to travel all the way from UP to Delhi, and doctor Manish – these three people took care of me as if I were their own daughter. If not for them, I am not sure if I would have recovered so well," she said.
The youngster, however, is quick to switch back to the present and gets overly critical of her performance at the National Games.
"I am definitely not happy with my performance. I lost two finals and a bronze medal match in the women's team event. I could have done a lot better. One bad arrow in each event is what it took to spoil my performance," she said.
Pragati, who is currently enrolled in a BA programme at the Hansraj College in Delhi, has her eyes set on bigger things for now.
"I have no interest in studies. I got admitted into college just because I want to play at the World University Games now. I told my mom I do not want to go to college and she said it is okay you just play well – that's all I am focusing now," she laughed.
15-year-old Aditi bags twin gold for Maharashtra
One of the fastest-rising stars of Indian archery, Aditi Gopichand Swami bagged two gold medals for Maharashtra at the National Games on Wednesday.
Aditi defeated Pragati 144-143 in the women's individual compound final, before winning the women's compound team event against Andhra Pradesh.
The 15-year-old daughter of a school teacher has already represented and won medals for India at the junior level and now has her eyes set on breaking into the senior team.
"I am very happy with my performance here. I have already played for India in the junior level and want to get into the senior team soon," Aditi said.
Amongst others, India regular Rishabh Yadav bagged the gold medal in men's compound individual against Maharashtra's Ojas Detale, while Gurwinder Singh took home the silver.
The Delhi men's compound team comprising of the experienced Abhishek Verma and Aman Saini alongside Priyan and Kawalpreet Singh took home the gold over Punjab after Maharashtra won the bronze.