Top Indian archers attending the national camp in Kolkata ahead of a busy international calendar are facing multiple problems, said national coach Limba Ram. Apart from shortage of spare equipment, the quality of food served to the campers at the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Eastern Centre, is poor.
Among the tournaments India is preparing includes the World Championships in Turin in July and making it to the quarterfinals there would help India win a berth at the London Olympics.
The lack of spare equipment had nearly ruined compound archer Ch Jignas’s chances of boarding the flight to Porec, Croatia, which hosts the first leg of the World Cup from Monday. Jignas broke his bow during training two weeks back and the replacement wasn’t immediate. He had to borrow one from a teammate and travel.
Lack of spare equipment, said Limba, is a constant problem. “There are some items like the nock of the arrows, which wear out fast. But even that is not readily available. Players can’t train with broken arrows for long,” Limba said. The archers also complained to former Union sports minister MS Gill when he came to inaugurate the hockey Astroturf in March 2010 but things have apparently not improved.
However, AAI secretary-general Pareshnath Mukherjee claimed preparation was on the right track. “Players are getting excellent facilities at the camp. There is no problem at all,” he said.
SAI regional director S Harmilapi too said some people make noises without reason. “I ensure that players don’t face any problem in the camp. I have also changed the contractor for catering. The new contractor is doing a good job,” he said.
“Procurement of equipment is not done by the regional office. It is done by the head office.”
These off-the-field issues, said Limba, “may be minor but they make a big difference when it comes to winning a medal in the Olympics.”