Pune female archer’s hunger has her shoot from shanty to the stars
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Pune female archer’s hunger has her shoot from shanty to the stars

17-year-old Natasha Dumane, the daughter of a watchman and a domestic help, has earned a place in the Maharashtra squad for the Senior National Archery Competition.

pune Updated: Apr 06, 2018 16:33 IST
Ashish Phadnis
Ashish Phadnis
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,archery,archery championship 2018
Natasha dumane in action during the Archery Championship 2018 on Thursday.(Shankar Narayan/HT PHOTO)

Natasha Dumane, a 17-year-old, archer from Pune is hungry for success. She is already one of the stars at the Senior National Archery Competition currently underway in Pune.

After years of hard work and dedication, this daughter of a watchman and a domestic help, has earned a place in the Maharashtra squad for the Senior National Archery Competition.

She is the lone Pune player in the Maharashtra squad in the Indian round category.

At the busy ground of the Army Sports Institute in Ghorpadi on Thursday, Natasha was a little nervous for her first-ever national competition, but she kept calm, quietly observing her opponents and listening to her coach Sudhir Patil. But, when she picks up the bow and aims, she transforms into a formidable archer aiming for the kill.

“When I take the aim, I forget everything. I leave behind my family, my life, and friends. I just focus on the target. That’s what I am told to do and I follow that,” said Natasha.

However, her life is a constant struggle. Her father Abhiman works as a watchman at the Dimension Icon society in Kondhwa. Like her other sisters, Rani and Harshada, Natasha started working as a helping hand with her mother Vimla. Her father wasn’t keen on her pursuing academics and stopped her education after SSC, which she had completed from a PMC school. Fortunately, she got a helping hand from archery coach Ranjeet Chamale.

Natasha’s mother used to work at Chamle’s residence, and sometimes Natasha would replace her mother in case of an illness. Ranjeet decided to introduce her to archery in 2015, when she was just 14. It was a major turning point for Natasha as she picked up the game quite comfortably. Noticing her spark, Ranjeet took her under his wings and provided her with the equipment at his academy at Sri Shahu Mandir College, Parvati Payatha.

He also persuaded her father to let her continue her studies and enrolled her in the Arts faculty at Shahu Mandir. As a result, Natasha soon started winning tournaments at the district and state level.

“What I observed was that she was ready to put in hard work. She never complained or made excuses. If I tell her to practice from morning to evening, she will do that. Secondly, she knows this sport is the only way out of her current life. Not just for her, but for her family too. She has tremendous potential to become an international archer and if she gets proper support and equipment, she will dominate the sport for sure,” said Chamale.

Natasha’s day starts at 5 am. She reaches Shahu College at around 6am from Kondhwa and after her fitness routine, takes archery training from the coaches. Then, she attends college from 11 am to 2 pm and after some rest, joins the evening training session.

However, she has to take a break from training if her mother or sisters fall ill and then, Natasha is forced to replace them and do household work. “It’s very unfortunate that she is forced to do such work even after winning medals at the state level. But unless she gets a regular supply of income or sponsorship, this will go on,” said Chamale.

“It’s a misconception that archery doesn’t require fitness or diet. To draw an arrow requires strength and the archers are required to follow strict fitness and diet. However, in case of Natasha, it is not possible. She is full of self-respect and sometimes when she falls short of money, she comes for the training walking from Kondhwa and stays hungry throughout the day and walks back to her home. When we came to know about this, we stopped it and now take care of her diet but that’s not enough,” added Chamale.

First Published: Apr 06, 2018 15:20 IST