Former India captain and Dronacharya awardee, Sanjeeva Singh, was at the Doordarshan commentary box at the Yamuna Sports Complex on Thursday morning. Two of his archers --- 35-year-old Jhanu Hansda and 26-year-old Bheigyabati Chanu — and Patiala’s 22-year-old Gagandeep Kaur were on the verge of history.
Singh was quietly savouring a defining moment in Indian archery: India’s compound women’s team beating Malaysia 223-219 to win bronze, the country’s first medal in Commonwealth Games archery.
It was through Singh, who is not part of the Archery Association of India anymore, that compound archery was introduced in India in 2004-05. Chanu and Hansda, along with Banseralin Dhar, were the first to make the India team for the Asian GP in Bangkok.
“Both are short and did not have a good enough reach for recurve. The compound bow is a lot smaller and I thought it would suit them perfectly. I made them switch from recurve to compound and it paid off,” Singh told HT.
As the three walked out of the medal ceremony with coach Harinder Singh to huge cheers and a host of photographers doing a ‘00’ car on a dirt track, a question as to whether this was their greatest achievement was a no-brainer.
A World Cup team bronze in Santo Domingo last year doesn’t even come close.