Image Credits: @Komalika
At just 18, Komalika Bari is yet another rising star of Indian archery and has rapidly become one of the best prospects to come through the renowned Tata Archery Academy (TAA) in the recent years.
At just 18, Komalika Bari is yet another rising star of Indian archery. In 2019, the youngster became the second Indian woman recurve archer after Deepika Kumari to win a gold medal at the World Archery Youth Championships, we spoke to Komalika who duly gave us an illuminating insight into life as a successful young archer.
Hailing from the industrial hub of Jamshedpur, Komalika has begun her journey into the world of archery at the young age, training with the bamboo bows for four years before switching to recurve in 2016 and has rapidly become one of the best prospects to come through the renowned Tata Archery Academy (TAA) in recent years.
The teenager also came close to clinching a ticket to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Her latest exploits came at the Khelo India University Games, where she won a silver medal in the individual category and gold in the team recurve event.
The sport archery has a serenity about it that few other sports can boast – and the patience needed while waiting for the right moment to release the bow, coupled with waiting for others to shoot, can prove beneficial to an individual’s success both on and off the field.
The Graduate School College for Women, Jamshedpur student should continue her fascinating growth and has all the attributes to register herself alongside the likes of Deepika Kumari and Bombayla Devi Laishram. She can become a top-quality archer in the near future if she keeps improving at this rate and be a major part of the national team set up over the coming years.
When did you actually decide that you wanted to be a professional archer?
In my early days, I was doing Archery for fun and for the amazing feeling you get when hitting the bulls-eye. Even though, I knew nothing about this sport and that was the moment I realised that I want to pursue it in the future. Though most people interested in archery typically seek out a compound bow as a hobby, I quickly became increasingly interested in Olympic recurve archery. And later, I started participating in local tournaments, started winning medals and I decided to give the trial for Tata Archery Academy to become a professional archer, and the journey continued from there.
When did you take part in your first international competition?
In 2019, when I become Khelo India Youth Games champion in the U-17 category and the top-4 archers got the chance to participate in the ISSF World Ranking tournament held at Dhaka, Bangladesh. That was my first international competition.
Despite your young age, you seem to shoot well under pressure. Please tell us about your mental game.
It is not only that, but I also feel nervous under pressure but to control it, I take the help of a psychologist. I continuously practise the things which my psychologist tells me and that immensely helps me during my competition.
Do you think that shooting in the senior circuit allows you to sharpen your experience and your archery level?
Yes, as we all know the seniors have much more experience than us, so, while shooting with them they share their experience with us which helps us a lot.
We all know that you are successful in your sport. But the first win and the first trophy is always special. Do you remember your 1st success as an archer? If yes, how will you describe that moment?
Earlier in the Indian ranking round, I was first selected for school nationals held in Hyderabad and I got team gold that was my first medal in archery. I was happy because in India round national medal is the top most medal for us, but in recurve when I become the indoor champion which was held in Kolkata, I was happier because for the first time I become champion with my recurve bow.
How difficult it is to stay at the pinnacle for a long time? How do you fulfill people’s expectations?
It is very difficult because to come upon the peak is easy but to maintain that position is very hard. People also expect a lot from you, so. in that time, I just continue my hard work and not think about the outcome. And even If I don't fulfil other expectations, I just do for myself and I know If I do hard work, I can achieve anything.
When a person is passionate for something, that thing is like a life for him. We all know that you are extremely passionate about archery. What are your feelings when you take the equipment in your hands?
Yes, archery is like my life now. When I took a bow in my hand, I felt like I can spend my whole day with it because it gives me such a joy and great happiness. And while shooting, when my form is also good, then the happiness is even more.
Archery is a sport which requires extreme concentration and focus. If you lose even 0.01% of it, you miss the target. How do you manage to maintain both under pressure situations?
In the pressure situation, I just focus on my process because it is a chain reaction – we control our bow, the bow controls the arrow, and the arrow controls the target and If we try to control the target then all things will get messed up. So, I just focus a little on what I am doing.
Even if a person reaches the pinnacle, there is always scope for improvement. And in sports, you should improve daily. A healthy competition or rivalry often helps a sportsperson to improve. So, who is that archer with whom you have a healthy rivalry?
I don't have anyone of that sort; I just share my things with my coaches and with my family.
Where do you see Indian archery in the next few years?
The competition is increasing day-by-day and I feel the full recognition will come soon and it is exciting to see. But it is definitely progressing and I would like to see it one day be level with the other sports like Cricket and football but who knows if it will ever make it there.
What is your main aim of life? Which is the main tournament which you consider as the most important one?
Each one dreams to represent their country at the Olympics. Each one dreams to win a medal for their country. And it’s no different for me. I would like to win an Olympic medal for the country and I am practising hard to achieve the feat in the years to come.
How much time do you spend each day/week/month shooting your bow?
I spend 9 to 10 hours per day with my bow except for Sunday. And Sunday only 3 hours.
When you are standing on the line, how do you determine a target is 43 yards out instead of 41?
When I am on the line, I just see the yellow portion nothing else. And focus on my process and last follow through on the yellow only.
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