The 34th senior National archery championship (recurve and compound), beginning at the JRD Tata Sports Complex in Jamshedpur from Monday, will be without some of the crack Indian archers.

Olympians Dola Banerjee, L. Bombayla Devi and Mangal Singh Champia, Rahul Banerjee, Laxmi Rani Majhi, Kapil Kumar, among others, will give the prestigious meet a ‘miss’ because their employer Indian Railways has decided to stay away from all the activities of the Archery Association of India after it was derecognised by the government of India.

Leading Railways archers, who participated at the fourth inter-Railway archery meet at Chittaranjan in Bengal, were distressed by the mindless decision.

“While other units of the AAI, like Army, ITBP, Ordnance board, para-military forces like CRPF, CISF, SSB are fielding their teams, it is baffling to know that we are barred,” some of them said.

“Missing out on the National championship will also affect some of our archers’ chances of promotion,” a senior archer pointed out.

The Nationals thus should prove to be a happy hunting ground for the Steal Plant Sports Board archers among whom, Deepika Kumari and Jayanta Talukdar, are expected to hog the limelight.

Barring Railways, almost all the States and Boards are in fray in the three-day meet.

The National meet will be important for those aspiring to represent India in next year’s World Cup series. The top eight or 12 would be short-listed.

It is heard that Railway archers who represented India in international events in the past two years will be accommodated.

This will obviously mean that archers like Adonda Raju and Mangal Champia, who are trying to get back into the Indian squad, will be left in the wilderness.

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