India’s top para-archers including Tokyo 2020 Paralympic bronze medallist Harvinder Singh will be back in action at the Dubai 2022 World Para-Archery Championships that kicked off with the qualification rounds here on Tuesday.
The nine-member Indian team is in Dubai after a two-month training camp at the Sports Authority of India Regional Centre in Sonipat, Haryana, and are confident of their best show ever at a World Championships.
Harvinder, the archer who turned his farm in Ajitnagar, Punjab, into a target practice venue during the Covid-19 pandemic before going on to win a historic bronze in Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games for India, looked focused on getting his job done — shooting a perfect score and returning home with the elusive medal.
As many as 223 archers from 40 countries are competing at the Dubai 2022 Championships this week, where 16 world titles are up for grabs.
“Like every other player here, I will be very happy to go back home with a medal. But right now, I am not thinking about this. The target is to shoot well this week. The result will follow. There’s a lot of excitement within the team as this is the first event after the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics,” said Harvinder, who finished 7th and 9th in the last two Worlds.
“This Championship is also very important in terms of analysing our game and knowing where we stand right now. As this is the start of the season, the event will also give a direction to our plans ahead,” he said.
“Mentally I am very confident going into the event. But I don’t want to be overconfident or be under pressure by setting any target in the championships. I want to just focus on shooting a good score. That’s what I did at the Paralympics and Asian Para Games also. I want to follow the same strategy — stay calm, focused and shoot well,” added the recurve men’s open archer.
National coach Kuldeep Kumar claimed the team is the country’s best bet for a medal at major championships.
“And we are eyeing the elusive World medal, the gold, this time. There’s a lot of expectation from the archers; it’s a very balanced team. We have Paralympic and Asian Para Games medallists, and World Ranking tournament medallists. The team has worked very hard for the last few months in all aspects of their game,” the coach said.
On Tuesday, compound open archers including Paralympians Rakesh Kumar, Shyam Sundar Swami and Jyoti Baliyan, opened their campaign on the day.
Shyam Sundar, who ended in the top 5 in the qualification round, said he felt confident after the second 36 set of arrows. “I had that feeling that I could go for the gold. There was a lot of wind today but we have trained shooting in all conditions. I am confident of getting that Worlds medal here.”
Baliyan was happy to return to her happy hunting ground where she had won many medals at the Fazza World Ranking Championships in the past few years.
“I am excited to be back in the shooting lane. I am looking forward to the Elimination round. I always have had good results in Dubai. And I hope to go home with my first World Championship medal from here,” said Jyoti who was placed 11th at the qualification rounds.