Image Credits: Simranjeet
Embarking on her journey with the sport as a curious little girl in school, the 21-year-old National Archer from Punjab, who learnt the sport under the tutelage of her father, who teaches her with the guidance of Internet, talks about her odyssey and the life lessons she has learnt from the sport.
How did archery happen? Did you play any other sports growing up? what made you get into archery?
During my school days, I was very much into physical activities and I decided on exploring more of myself. And that’s how I took up sports.
At school I was a kind of kid who wanted to be in the limelight. I thought academics will not give me that and so I initially took up Taekwondo and later I shifted to Archery.
What do you like best about archery and why?
One of the best things about archery is that it reminds me nothing is constant. It shows highs and lows are nothing but part and parcel of life and we have to keep moving on no matter what.
Where do you train? Tell us a bit about your coach and what does a typical training week look like for you?
I usually train at home and so I don’t find this lockdown brining in anything new to my routine or hampering my progress in any way. My father is my only coach .He is not professional archery coach .He takes things from you tube and internet and teaches me. You can portray him as HANIKAARK BAPU 2.0.
My training week consists of physical workout covering strength and body balance that goes with two sessions of shooting per day with a pinch of mental toughness exercises.
Do you think Archery is about shoot a perfect bullseye for hours or getting perfect results?
As I said the best thing about archery is that it teaches that life will not always be perfect situations won’t be the same. There will be ups and downs and it is normal. We just have to keep moving instead of developing an attitude where you always expect to be at the top and you get dramatic when things go the other way. Life goes on and nothing is perfect not even performance in archery.
When was the first time you have hit the bullseye?
I think that was sometime back in 2013 I don’t remember clearly
What was your first experience shooting a bow?
This one has got an incident attached. Back then at school we had bow draw practice to build strength, for about 20 days prior shooting. I was very excited about shooting and so I was the only student who used to hover the coach every single day and ask him “when will I shoot sir?”. After one week of chasing him with the question every single day, he got so mad that he asked everybody in my batch to start shooting except me. So, my first shot with the arrow happened without the knowledge of my coach and when I did it, it almost felt like winning an Olympic medal.
Who do you look up to in the archery industry like role model and why?
Admiring someone and making them a role model is good but I believe in giving my best efforts in becoming the best version of myself rather than trying to be like someone else, because I think being like someone will only limit myself. You never know how far you can go unless you believe in yourself.
Competing at such a young age, how did you juggle studies with sport?
I manage to add one hour of studying in my training routine. So, if I study 4 days a week that’s pretty much enough. In addition to that, my college Sri Guru Nanak Dev Khalsa College, New Delhi, has been very supportive in my pursuit of finding what is needed to make my little mark successful in Archery.
Who has been the person behind your accomplishments in the sport?
My father, I can’t even count the number of sacrifices he has made for me.
In terms of the final stages of preparation, what will the last couple of days look like? And is there anything specific you’ll be doing to calm your mind and the nerves?
I believe tournament is no different from a fair. How individuals take things and situations is very subjective and is totally dependent on them. It’s only the training sessions that we have to stress on in making efforts and pushing ourselves hard. I think everybody knows how to enjoy a fair. There is nothing to stress during a tournament because I think everyone knows the number of grains one can swallow.
What has been the most favorite moment so far in your archery career?
Back then in 2016. The Federation conducted selection trials for Rio Olympic Games. We had back to back trials and everything was working so well for me as per my road map. I ended up in the top 6.
What advice would you give to someone thinking joining archery?
If someone is interested in taking up Archery, I would suggest them not to rush into shooting, instead I would insist them to develop their basic strength and take things chronologically.
What’s it like owning archery tools? Any particular challenges or perks?
I cannot leave my equipment behind. I have to take it wherever I go, we cannot afford the risk of being out of practice over 3 days as we will retrace back to zero in terms of control.
What comments do you get from people/friends/family when you meet them with your archery kits/tools?
Oh! that case looks so heavy, Is it a Guitar? How do you carry such a big and heavy case on your own?
What else do you do? Is there something else that you do that you like to perfect outside of archery?
Archery is my passion; no other thing can take such supreme importance and so my main focus is on archery. Other times, I read books, watching movies and play games on mobile to entertain myself.
Who would win in a fight between you and Jeremy Renner?
"Real archery is not superhero Hawkeye archery," as he said. Well technically he had a really bad posture if we compare to professional archers. I think there should be no debate about it.
What are your current plans and goals for the future?
I don’t want to set my aim and refrain my targets for one or any particular tournament. So, my plans for this year will be on improving myself on as many aspects I can on a whole and it would help me become the ultimate version if myself in terms of archery.