A golden opportunity to hone their skills under international coaches is awaiting tribal archers of the state.
The Union ministry for tribal affairs and the Archery Association of India (AAI) have inked an MoU for the promotion of indigenous archers from five states, including Jharkhand. The agreement, signed recently, mandates a championship to select archers who will be trained by experts from abroad.
The tourney, exclusively for tribal archers from Madhya Pradesh, Sikkim, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, besides the state, will begin this October and be held in a phased manner. Seraikela will host the first event.
AAI secretary-general Paresh Nath Mukherjee said legs of the championship would also be held in Jabalpur, Gangtok, Shillong and Itanagar. "It will be an open tournament with no age bar. The event will act as an yardstick for tribals who want to enter the final that will be held in New Delhi," he said.
According to AAI officials, 40 archers — four boys and as many girls from each state — will be selected for the final. The list will be pruned further before the best are handpicked for training under international coaches. "It will be a long-term arrangement to be funded by the Union ministry. We will take care of logistics needed for holding the tournament and coaching camps," said an AAI official. The ministry is also expected to help these archers get employment at a later stage.
AAI officials said the state tourney in Seraikela would be held at the archery academy in Dugni. Run by the state, the academy has produced a fair number of international archers, including Mangal Ho, Ashrita Kerketta, Sumangala and Paltan Hansda. Ho, a native of Kharsawan, has been selected by a London-based security agency for special training for the 2012 Olympics.
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