The senior national archery championships this year will hit the beach. Taking a leaf out of the Archery World Cup, hosted by Antalya, Turkey, the Archery Association of Tamil Nadu (TAAT) has decided to hold the finals of the nationals on the Marina Beach in Chennai. The tournament will begin on Christmas Day.
"This is the first time this will be tried out in India," TAAT general secretary Hussaini told HT. "After seeing archery's following during the London Olympics, want to get the masses involved and only then we can get more and more youngsters pick up the sport. It will help improve competition and the standard. We floated the idea to the Archery Association of India (AAI) and they agreed. The beach on New Year's Eve will be overflowing with tourists when the medal rounds would be held. Taking sport to public places does make an impact," Hussaini, who was a martial arts expert, said.
TAAT will build temporary stands and install giant screens like international competitions to make the sport interesting for fans.
"Shooting in the beach is difficult because of very strong breeze. But it's a great experience for the archers and the spectators. In Antalya the beauty of the venue, the white sands and deep blue sea, can be a distraction. This one will be great and I am looking forward to it. We want more events like this which will attract spectators and help us get used to pressure and different conditions," said archer
Jayanta Talukdar, who had won an individual bronze in Antalya in 2009.
The AAI had planned to host the finals of the 2010 Commonwealth Games at the India Gate but that was not allowed for security reasons. So this would be a first for Indian archery.
Squash is a sport known to try out similar stuff. The World Open finals are held in all-glass courts with the Pyramids of Giza as backdrop. Shopping malls, for example, are a favourite venue with the China Open in Shanghai.