This time around when the national archery championships are held, it may cost certain states, particularly the powerful ones like Jharkhand, a few medals. In a move that may not go down well with some state associations, the Archery Association of India (AAI) has decided to allow Sports Authority of India (SAI), Steel Plants Promotion Board (which includes Tata Archery Academy) amongst others, to participate in the nationals as separate teams.
It should be noted that till now, there had been no Sports Authority of India team in the nationals and the archers trained by the apex sports body usually represented their states.
“SAI, with all the resources, never got the credit. Now though, the best archers from all the SAI centres (four each in male and female) will compete under the SAI banner,” said an AAI official.
The worry for the states do not end with SAI’s separate team. The fact that Steel Plants Promotion Board will also participate is a major blow to Jharkhand.
The Tata Archery Academy, from where the state has always been using archers in the national championships, will compete under the Steel Plants Promotion Board’s name, which can affect Jharkhand's chances. Some of the top archers, including Jayanta Talukdar, are part of the Tata Archery Academy, while the Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB), which too will field its team, boasts of the two top women archers, Reena Kumari and Dola Banerjee.
The question here is that while Railways employ archers, what incentive will the players get by representing SAI, knowing that representing and creating records for states can benefit them. “We train the archers and we need some credit too,” an official said.
Among the others that will participate in are Arunachal, Goa, Uttaranchal, Mizoram, Assam Rifles and National Security Guards.