The acquisitions of medals at the London Olympics — 2012 has been India’s best ever. Smelling the potential spirit in Indian youth for sports the Indian Air Force is now aiming to make a mark in sports like archery and wrestling. The bend of an archer IAF has begun the hunt for the young athletes and is also ready to open its gates for potential archers to get training at its newly established ‘centre of excellence’ and nodal centre for archery, in Shillong.
It is named ‘Eklavya’ after the fabled archer of the epic Mahabharata. It has an open-range built in accordance to international specifications and is equipped with the latest sophisticated archery equipment to match. IAF archers, Flt Lt Ghanshyam Singh and two others are currently training at the centre for over a year. Some time back at the six months stint at ‘Mission Olympics Wing’ at Indian Army’s Sports Institute, Pune with several Olympians and a Korean coach, Che Hong, Ghanshyam gained confidence and experience. He said, “I owe a great deal to him.
IAF, flying high on hope
I was also well supported by the AFSCB (Air Force Sports Control Board).” His dedication won him the position of a national-level archer who qualified for the Asian Grand Prix in 2011, and spearheads IAF’s quest for excellence in the discipline. In addition, young boys and girls from Meghalaya where traditional archery with hand-strung bows is hugely popular, are also being trained free as goodwill.
Hoping to form a team of eight archers, the IAF recently held trials in Delhi for selecting potential archers. Of the 15 tested, only one archer from Jharkhand qualified the stringent tests. “We may consider our future selection trials in the eastern region and the tribal areas,” says Air Force Sports Control Board (AFSCB), Secretary, Wg Cdr VN Singh. Archery is among the latest additions to the existing list of 28 sports discipline participated by IAF.
The new members are inspired by Eklavya but would want to be like Arjuna in achieving far greater glory. Perhaps, just the right philosophy to imbibe in the quest for excellence in the fiercely competitive times.