Archers clinched men's championship in FITA and Olympic segments

The whole world is looking at India as a surprise package. Very soon India is likely to dominate the world archery Lokesh The recently-concluded all India inter-university archery championship held at the sprawling Acharya Nagarjuna University campus would be remembered for long by the traditional sports-lovers as ANU archers went on to win a bagful of medals, both in individual and team segments. Incidentally, for the first time ANU reaped rich harvest in archery, after its lukewarm show in 2003 at Hyderabad meet. Right from day one, the focus was on ANU's talented archers like Ravinder, Mangal Singh Champia, Seshagiri and Ch Lenin as they not only looked strong on paper but also had the advantage of performing at their home ground. Says Cherukuri Satyanarayana, secretary, Krishna District Archery Association: "We were the favourites as we had international players like Ch. Lenin, Ravinder and Mangal Singh. It is a nice feeling to emerge victorious amidst stiff competition from Punjab and Ranchi Universities. This victory will give the necessary impetus to the sport, which is still longing for a helping hand from the corporate world."As expected, Ravinder exhibited his mettle to perfection by garnering all the four medals (90m, 70m, 50m and 30m) at stake in the FITA round and later, led the ANU team astutely for the team gold. "It is a team work. We were determined to do well as our prestige was at stake. With the support of our coach Kurmi and all the administrators, we lived up to their expectations."Satyanarayana feels that the cost factor involved in procuring modern equipments is preventing the sport from reaching many gifted archers in the lower strata of society. "Graphite carbon arrows and state-of-the-art imported bows are not within the reach of the common man. One needs to spend Rs 2 lakh to 3 lakh to acquire these gadgets. It is time archery is given the kind of support it deserves as the sport can bring a gold medal to India in Olympics." Indian coach Lokesh, who was at the championship, feels that development of Indian archery depends more on university meets as the future champions are usually spotted during such occasions.J. R. SHRIDHARAN