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Despite talent to take on the world, Darjeeling archers way off target

Sunday, 24 February 20130 comments

Darjeeling Feb 24: Lack of equipment and training facility is coming in the way of producing quality archers who can take on the world. The sorry state of affairs came to light during the two-day Himalayan Terai Archery Competition organised by the Darjeeling Police in Darjeeling on Saturday.

Paril Lepcha, 22, an ace archer from Darjeeling who has won 25 gold, 12 silver and 12 bronze medals in different national and state level events said, “There is no dearth of talent. There are more than 15 archers from the district taking part in the state level competitions.

However, the biggest problem is that most practice traditional archery and not the modern sport owing to the lack of equipment and training facilities.”

A large chunk of the population including the tribals has been practicing archery for generations.

However the silver lining is that with archery an Olympic and a Commonwealth game event, many systematic archery training schools are coming up in the Hills.
“In the Hills, children are interested in making archery their career but they hardly get support from parents. Economical and infrastructure constraints are also major problems” added Paril.

Both Paril’s parents are archers and her younger sister 8 year Lhee Rong Lepcha is a budding archer. Lhee Rong has already taken part in the nationals and was present in the archery competition being held in the Dali Police Ground, Darjeeling on Saturday.
Twelve participants from Simulbari and Panighatta in the Terai region of the district also participated. “We have not seen such bows and arrows (used for systematic archery sports.) We use traditional bows and arrows in our village as a sport,” said Punni Lal Nagasia, 26.

There were more than 100 participants in the two day event. The participants were categorised into below 19 years and above 19 years male and female categories.
The oldest participant was 65 year-old SB Subba and the youngest 8 year-old Lhee Rong Lepcha.

“We have immense talent and are trying to give it a boost. This tournament is being organised by the police department jointly with the Sports Authority of India; Himalayan Archery Academy and Aloobari Archery Association.
The state government is sponsoring the prizes. The tournament has evoked immense response with participants coming from far flung areas,” said Kunal Agarwal, Darjeeling SP.

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