India recurve team archer Pratima Boro of Assam allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself on Friday at the Army Sports Institute in Pune, where the national camp is on.
The reason for the suicide is still not known but people in the fraternity are not ruling out the possibility of a love affair gone wrong.
It is learnt that Pratima, who was part of the squad for the 2009 World Cup in Shanghai and the World Championships in Ulsan, Korea, trained with other campers in the morning, but just before target practice around 8am, she complained about feeling unwell and went to her room.
Her roommate, a junior archer who is also from Assam, first alerted everyone that Pratima was not opening the door. The door was forced open and she was found hanging from the ceiling fan.
“It’s shocking,” said senior archer Dola Banerjee from Pune. “She was there running with us during the physical training session and we did not notice anything strange. She was absolutely normal. She was always very happy and chirpy and we could never make out that she was depressed. Some of us were talking to the AAI secretary Anil Kamineni who arrived here this morning. So, we returned from practice a little late and we saw this. We are shattered,” the two-time Olympian said.
Sources in the AAI have raised questions as to why there were no women coaches at the camp. The camp was being held under the supervision of head coach Lim Chae Woon of Korea, along with Indian coaches, Dharmender Tiwari and Army’s Ravi Shankar.
Ever since the sports ministry disaffiliated AAI, the national camp has been shifted out of the Sports Authority of India Eastern Centre in Kolkata and taken to the Army Institute two months back.
Former Tata Archery Academy, Jamshedpur, coach Lim is a resident coach at the Army Institute now. Senior archers wanted him as the national coach, and, in order to get the opportunity to train under him had persuaded the ministry to shift the camp to Pune for the first time in five years.
Pratima was employed with the Northeast Frontier Railways and was a former cadet at the Tata Archery Academy. She was out of the India team for the last two years, but made a comeback in the national squad with a strong performance at the nationals in Chennai in December last year.
Jayanta Boro, president of the Assam Archery Association has written to AAI, Army authorities in Pune and SAI asking them to investigate the incident. “It’s shocking. She was one of the brightest archers to come out from Kokrajhar,” he said.