Indian archers get Korean boost ahead of World Cup

Kolkata, April 17

In a big boost to Indian archery ahead of next year’s Paris Games, the national federation has hired Olympics gold medal-winning coach Baek Woong Ki to work with the recurve team.

The South Korean, who oversaw his country’s double gold medal-winning show in women’s individual and team sections at the London Olympics, will begin his India stint with the season-opening World Cup Stage 1, starting tomorrow in Antalya, Turkey.

This is the first time after the 2014 Asian Games that India have hired a foreign coach. In fact, the Archery Association of India (AAI) have also roped in two-time Italian World Cup winner Sergio Pagni, who is accompanying the compound team to the World Cup.

Woong Ki, who was initially part of the Centre of Excellence in SAI, Sonepat, has been given a contract till the Olympics. “He has been made the India recurve coach for the Asian Games and then the Olympics,” Indian archery high performance director Sanjeeva Singh said.

The 44-year-old Pagni had conducted a training programme for the compound team ahead of the 2018 Asian Games. “His familiarity and experience with the Indian archers made him an automatic choice,” Sanjeeva said.

The upcoming World Cup will be the first big test for the duo as India are fielding a new-look squad comprising mostly juniors.

Barring the trio of 2010 Asian Games silver medallist Tarundeep Rai, two-time Olympian Atanu Das and World Championships silver medallist compound archer Jyothi Surekha Vennam, the Indian squad has quite a few new names. Deepika Kumari, Riddhi Phor and Komalika Bari failed to make the cut for the recurve team, while the biggest name to miss out in the compound section is top-ranked Indian Abhishek Verma.

“The juniors are upcoming and doing well. They have come through a rigorous two-phase trial in Kolkata and Sonepat. We expect them to come out strongly,” Sanjeeva said. “We want to see how they overcome anxiety pangs. A good start (in the qualification) will set them up,” he added. — PTI


Recurve Men: B Dhiraj, Atanu Das, Tarundeep Rai, Neeraj Chauhan

Recurve Women: Bhajan Kaur, Aditi Jaiswal, Ankita Bhakat, Simranjit Kaur;

Compound Men: Prathmesh Jawhar, Rajat Chauhan, Ojas Deotale, Rishab Yadav

Compound Women: Avneet Kaur, V Jyothi Surekha, Aditi Swamy, Sakshi Choudhary

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