Tribal archer Gora Ho, wonder boy from Jharkhand, shoots gold at Asia Cup in Bangkok
While India finished with three gold and two bronze medals at the Asia Cup Archery Stage 1 meet in Bangkok this week, the performance of one young archer stands out as an example of the rich sporting talent present in the country’s rural belt and non-traditional pockets.
Gora Ho, a teenager from the tribal belt of Jharkhand, won gold partnering Akash and Gaurav Lambe in the team recurve event at the Asia Cup. The trio beat Mongolia’s Adiyasuren Baasankhuu, Otgonbold Baatarkhuyag and Gantugs Jantsan 27-26 in the tie-breaker to clinch the third gold for India on Thursday.
Prodigiously talented, Ho’s ability with the bow and arrow was discovered by coaches at the Dugni Archery Academy in Seraikela six year back. Since then, Ho, a tribal from Balijhudi village in Rajnagar, has won more than 100 medals in age-group state and national level tournaments, and has made it to the senior national side.
With the medal at the Asia Cup, Ho is dreaming big -- aiming for glory in the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Though the 17-year-old has a long way to go before he can realistically fight for Olympic medals, Ho’s coach from the academy, B Srinivas Rao, is confident his ward is meant for the global stage.
“This boy is Olympic material,” Rao was quoted by The Times of India. “His natural talent needs to be honed through focused training under the guidance of a recognized foreign coach.”
Upbeat after the Bangkok performance, Ho is preparing for the trials to be part of India’s team for the upcoming World Cup in Shanghai, which begins on April 23.
The Golden Boy
Jharkhand’s ‘Golden Boy’, who is a cadet at the Army Boys Club in Pune, attributed his success to the support he has received in his journey in the sport so far.
“Support from my teammates and hard work helped me perform well at my first international outing,” he said. “I wish to keep this dream alive and shoot for India at the 2020 Olympic Games.”
Ho’s journey -- with a lot of ups and downs -- has been remarkable.
Ho is the youngest of four siblings in a family of farmers. His 50-year-old father, Khaireu Ho, has been paralysed and bedridden for the last two years. Ho lost his mother Chameni in 2016.
Ho began his training at the Arjuna Archery Academy in Kharswan where he was spotted by Rao, and shifted him to Dugni Academy in Seraikela. In 2014, a 13-year-old Ho won three gold medals at the National School Games in Ranchi. A year later, he won a whopping 10 medals at the Jharkhand Archery Championships.
Sensing his talent, the state government awarded state-of-the-art equipment including a bow that costs Rs 2.70 lakh in 2016. Armed with the bow and, more importantly, talent, Ho is planning to use Archery as a vehicle out of poverty and misery. But he promises to keep his focus on the target, his ultimate dream -- a medal at the Olympics.
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