Ranjeet Chamle, senior archery coach and Chhatrapati awardee, is a well known name in the Indian archery circuit. He was archery coach at the National Defence Academy in 2004. He has also been the Maharashtra team coach since 2005. He is currently selected as member of the coaches committee for the ‘Mission 2020 Olympics’ scheme of the Maharashtra government. The archery veteran spoke to Ashish Phadnis about archery in Pune and the way forward for the sport. How do Pune archers fare in tournaments? Pune archers have been putting up strong performances at the state and national level. In the last five years, 24 archers from Pune have represented the country at the international level. Several of them have been picked up by Services, Railways and the Petroleum board. We still have a long way to go. Although everyone wants to represent India in the Olympics, we are currently aiming at putting up a good performance at the upcoming Asian Games. It’s a gradual process and will see progress within the next five years. How do you plan to improve Pune’s performance at the national level? We need to work on bench strength. Top archers always get all the attention and sponsorship, but we need to bridge the gap. Counties like Korea send their junior teams to senior world cups, and they still win medals. That’s the bench strength they have. We should work towards emulating that model. More and more tournaments should also be held in the city. Right from inter-school to inter-state and national tournaments, the more tournaments there are, the more exposure the archers will get. Archery is considered a costly sport. How can an archer overcome this barrier? Once the archer wins a medal at the national level, the Indian government sends them to various tournaments including the Asia Cup, Asian grand prix, world cups, world championships, Commonwealth Youth Games and Commonwealth Games. Most of their expenses are sponsored by government. Our aim is to help archers reach that level. This is where private sponsorships are crucial. Private organisations should come forward and support these future medal winners. Luckily Non-governmental organisations (NGO) like Lakshya and corporate organisations like Dorf Kettle, Mumbai and many others are offering a helping hand to players who need it the most.