Abhishek Verma: Dismay for India’s compound archers as IOC snubs 2028 Olympics entry


In 2018, India’s ace compound archer Abhishek Verma conceded that he was willing to put down the bow and arrow to pursue a career in rifle shooting.

“That’s the only way I will be able to represent my country at the Olympics,” he had said wistfully.

Five years later, Verma has not made the switch to shooting.

In this period, however, he has been pivotal to India’s compound archery team’s fortunes.

At the just-concluded Asian Games in Hangzhou, the compound archers orchestrated their best show ever at the showpiece Asian event, bagging five gold medals.

“Five years ago, if I had switched to rifle shooting, I would not have been able to be a part of the spectacular rise of India’s compound archers. We are now the No.1 ranked team in the world,” Verma told Business Standard in a telephonic interaction.

The clean sweep at the Asiad notwithstanding, Olympics participation still remains a distant dream for these compound archers.

Last week, the International Olympic Council (IOC) rejected World Archery’s proposal to include compound archery along with the recurve format in the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

The IOC Executive Board rejected the World Archery’s proposal saying it would impact the overall budget of the Games since the number of archers qualifying for the event would increase.

IOC’s sports director, Kit McConnell said it was “really about the costing complexity.”

Not surprisingly, India’s compound archers are dejected by IOC’s move.

“It is a dream of every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics. I guess we will have to wait a little longer,” Verma said.

Recurve is the only category in archery that is recognised at the Olympics.

Compound is seen as a fringe discipline, relegated to the Asian Games, South Asian Games and the World Cups. 

It was included in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, but was removed from the subsequent editions.

The difference between recurve and compound archery lies in the equipment.

While recurve uses the basic bow and arrow and relies more on human precision, the compound is more mechanised and combines cams and wheels instead of the human finger as the trigger.

Recurve bows are shot 70 metres from the target, while compound bows are shot from 50 metres.

World Archery, the governing body of the sport, has long been advocating for the inclusion of compound archery at the Games.

It argued that if the Games can include multidisciplinary sports like beach volleyball along with normal volleyball, and squeeze in several categories in swimming, it can also include compound and recurve archery.

Jyothi Surekha Vennam, another accomplished compound archer, who is back in her hometown in Vijayawada after bagging a hattrick of gold medals in Hangzhou, said she was as baffled as the rest of her team-mates by IOC’s rejection.

“We were hopeful of participating at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. I don’t know why they (IOC) rejected the proposal,” Vennam told Business Standard.

“If you see, compound archery is really big in the USA. They also have a very strong team. So, from the outside, it looked obvious that it would be included in Los Angeles,” she explained.

The compound archers will do well to put their Olympic disappointments aside and focus on their next big-ticket event – the Asian Championship that begins on November 4 in Bangkok.

Ojas Pravin Deotale, the 21-year-old compound archer from Nagpur, who bagged the gold medal at the Men’s compound individual event in this Asian Games, is hopeful.


“India will leave no stone unturned in the preparation for the successful organisation of the Olympics in 2036 — this is the dream of the 140 crore Indians. I am sure India will get support from the IOC,” Prime Minister Modi had said.

“If that happens, I am sure compound archery will become an event in the Olympics,” Deotale added.


Source link

Leave a Comment