November 25, 2019 10:38 AM NPT
By: DHAN BASNET
Nepali archers train at the Pokhara Stadium as part of their preparation for the upcoming 13th South Asian Games. Photo: Umesh Pun/Republica
POKHARA, Nov 25: As archery’s gold favorite India misses the South Asian Games (SAG) due to suspension, the chances of five other countries for gold has apparently increased.
Bangladesh, now, remains the top favorite for the gold medal in archery. But Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan are also the top contenders.
India has dominated the South Asian archery--winning all gold medals in both men’s and women’s events in 2010 and 2016 SAG.
When India basked in glory of gold medals, Sri Lanka won two silver medals while Bangladesh bagged one silver and one bronze in India. Bhutan also won three bronzes.
Nepal has managed to win two bronzes in SAG. Nepal won bronze medal in team event in the 11th SAG in Dhaka. Similarly, Prem Pun won bronze medal in men’s individual event under recurve in the 12th SAG.
Archery assistant coach Basanta Thakali is hopeful Nepal can bag at least two gold medals in the upcoming Games.
“In the 11th and 12th SAG, Nepal had to make peace with bronze medals. But this time, the competition is being held at home. We are hopeful we can win at least two golds in archery,” said Thakali.
“The government’s investment in archery is almost zero. Given that, we cannot expect a lot of medals in the sport. In Bangladesh, the athletes learn archery at academy from the age of 12.”
“But, this time we have home advantage,” he added.
Kaski District Archery Association Chair Yogendra Sherchan lamented: “We don’t have an academy for archery. Neither do we have equipment. Our players have been playing on their own.”
According to him, Nepali archers started training late, only after the archery ground was built at the Pokhara Stadium.
Players from Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka are competing for 10 gold medals in archery.
The World Archery suspended the Archery Association of India in August citing two parallel bodies.