Following a disastrous performance by the Indian recurve contingent at the archery World Cup (Stage IV) at Shanghai, the Archery Association of India (AAI) has decided to crack the whip keeping in mind the prestigious 45th World outdoor target championship beginning at Ulsan (South Korea) from September 1.

The AAI had named the six-member recurve squad well in time so as guarantee the archers their place in the team to infuse confidence among them.

The three-member men’s side, comprising Jayanta Talukdar, Rahul Banerjee and Mangal Singh Champia, did extremely well in the three preceding World Cup meets winning two team gold medals and a silver before coming a cropper in the fourth edition.

The women’s team, not so successful like its male counterpart in the World Cup series, underwent a change after the end of the third World Cup at Antalya where one of the experienced archers, Laishram Bombayla Devi, became a victim of poor form and was replaced by rookie Pratima Boro. Even the change did not bring about a turnaround in the women team’s fortune in the fourth edition.

When asked to explain the team’s disastrous show in China, the AAI secretary general, Paresh Nath Mukherjee, minced no words in slamming the men’s performance and said “complacent attitude.”

“There is no doubt the three men are world class athletes. My perception is that the three took things for granted. Such an attitude is not at all desirable at that level,” he fumed.

The fall out of the poor show was increase work load on the team’s return. The coaches were pulled up and players cautioned to take things seriously. Sources revealed that there was even a hint of threat to replace anybody if found wanting in work culture. Some of the coaches have been pulled up for the reversal.

One of the team members felt there were three reasons for the team’s poor show. “We have been competing for almost a year non-stop. In such a condition, failure in one tournament is not the sign of team’s fallibility. Then we had to change or tinker with equipment to replace the broken parts and in some cases changed arrows. And thirdly and most importantly, we were put through more on gym drills and less on shooting exercise,” he revealed. “At present the order has been reversed to allow us to spend more time on shooting.”

India’s best showing in a World championship was in 2005 at Madrid when the men’s team won silver and the women’s team ended fourth.

Individually, Tarundeep Rai missed the bronze medal narrowly to finish fourth.

India’s rise in the Worlds was in 2003 at New York when the men’2s team finished fourth and the women ended sixth.

Meanwhile, the AAI’s request to sack compound coach, Aussie Peter Feeney was accepted by the Sports Authority of India (SAI). Mr. Mukherjee said the coach was in-charge of the compound squad in three World Cup meets and failed to bring the desired results. Once we decided not to send the compound teams to the Shanghai World Cup, we also decided to terminate his services.”

Feeney was employed by the SAI for almost five months.

Now the AAI has recommended a few names of American coaches to the SAI to finalise. Mr. Mukherjee said” “we have told the SAI that the new coach needed to work for only two weeks at a stretch and at regular intervals.”

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