To start with, archery was not Pinki Rani’s first love; she was into kabaddi and athletics from her early school days, and had even won medals in long-distance races at the statelevel tournaments.
However, when serious efforts, sans adequate training facilities, started taking toll on the body, Pinki switched to a more “comfortable” discipline of archery six years ago. The switch soon became hit, as Pinki’s efforts started getting translated into medals at state and national level tournaments.
Only last year, Pinki, who studies in DAV College- 10, won her first gold medal in the senior national championship held in Chhattisgarh; her previous best was a silver medal in the 2010-11 edition of the event held in Madhya Pradesh. In addition to that, the 23-year-old has seven medals from different editions of inter-university tournaments. Five of those – one gold and four silver – came a couple of months ago during the All India Inter-University Archery Championship held at Panjab University. She has also won 19 medals in the inter-college tournaments.
“After leaving athletics and kabaddi in 2008, I started practising archery on the insistence of one of my acquaintances, Sunil Kumar, who is himself a national level archer.
“Under Sunil sir’s guidance, I won two bronze medals at the state interschool games and another bronze in the School Nationals. These achievements bolstered my decision to stick with archery,” adds Pinki, who hails from a village near Damdama Lake in the Gurgaon district of Haryana, and did her schooling from there. She shifted her base to Chandigarh in 2009 in search of better training facilities.
“After joining Government College of Girls, Sector 11, I started training under Vikas Shastri sir, whose efforts to teach the nuances the sport elaborately helped me a lot in improving my game. A big credit for whatever I have achieved today goes to him, and also to my family for supporting and helping me pursue my passion,” adds Pinki.
Having created a niche for herself in the national circuit obviously excites Pinki. But what thrills her even most is the development back at home. “In the wake of my medals, some 20-plus kids, including girls, in the age group of 14 to 16 have started practising archery with the help of make-shift targets.
Whenever I go home, many of them come to me seeking tips. It feels good that I am contributing to the sport indirectly also, and I hope my village becomes a hub of archers in the coming time.”
Speaking about her own goals, Pinki says her ultimate dream is to represent the country at the international level. She got this opportunity two years ago, when she was selected in the national squad for the 5th Tafisa World Games (held in Lithuania), but could not go due to the unavailability of the passport.
“To play for the country is an honour for any sportsperson, and I, too, want to don the tri-colour. It requires a lot of patience and hard work, and I will give my best to make this dream of mine come true.”