19th Asian Games: Nepal archers hopeful of high-scoring

(Krishna Dawadi/RSS) Kaski, Sept 7: Every day, Tilak Punmagar of Pokhara, a policeman, reaches and attends archery training at the archery ground in Pokhara Stadium. With his bow and arrows, he aims and shoots at a stationary circular target along with other four players. The players are practicing for the 19th Asian Games scheduled to take place in Hangzhou of China from coming 23 September. The closed training session started from the third week of July, 2023. Punmagar for the first time participated in the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia four years ago. Then he made a national record by shooting arrows at around 65 metres. This time, he is hopeful of improving and breaking his own previous record. “I did not have confidence when I for the first time took part in the Games in Indonesia. However, I had good scores. This time, I have prepared a lot and I believe I will do well with practice and past experiences,” he said. In archery, Nepal had been participating in the Games since its 16th edition. However, they have yet to win medals. In their first participation, they reached quarterfinals. Since then, they are yet to make it to the group stage. In the 19th Asian Games, Nepal will participate in recurve and compound forms of archery. In recurve, Punmagar and Manju Bajgain will participate, and in compound, Yogendra Sherchan and Emayienga Rai. Sherchan is hopeful of reaching semifinals. He however is disappointed due to the lack of adequate resources and the sport equipment. As the government has not provided adequate sport equipment, he has by himself managed them, he said. “The National Sports Council has not provided enough sport equipment. We have demanded the sets of bow and arrows. Without their availability, I am practicing after buying a bow for Rs 250,000. Our performance would be improved had we been provided with required sports equipment,” he said. This is his first entry for the Games, and he is excited about it. “I feel the Asian Games is like Olympics as Asian countries reached semifinals in Olympics,” he said. For the betterment of the sport, he viewed that foreign coaches are in need. Trainer for the closed training session is Basanta Thakali. Dipak Gurung, the central president of the Nepal Archery Association, has supported Thakali. Physical fitness of players along with practical and theoretical aspects have been taken into account in the training session, said Thakali. The four archers were selected for the Games from the total 20 participants, he said. In the Games, Nepal are participating in various 29 sports. —

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