Exclusive Interview with Indian archer Rahul Banerjee ahead of the Asian Games
In 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Rahul won Gold Medal in Men's Individual recurve event and Bronze in Team event. He won Bronze in 2010 Asian Games at Guangzhou in the team event. He is a medal prospect for upcoming Asian Games. We caught up with him for an exclusive interview.
How is your preparation for the Asian Games?
Preparation leading up to the Asian Games looks good and positive. We had a good outing at the World Cup which is a good confidence booster. We are already in Gwangju, South Korea near Incheon. We are having a three-and-half week camp before the Asian Games.
How are the practice facilities in Gwangju?
Practice and training facilities are really good. We are getting to train and get help from professional archers and archery institutes here. Infact Ki Bo-Bae, the current Olympic and World Champion is training with the Women’s team.
How important is the camp in South Korea before the games for you and Team India?
It is very important since it’s near and climate wise similar to Incheon. We are getting accustomed to the weather conditions here and also adjusting our biological timing, since moving towards east means one loses out on time and you tend to sleep a bit more. Plus archery is a big sport in Korea and infrastructure for practice and training here is world class.
In both men's and women's event at the 2012 London Olympics, it was said we lost out on mental aspect in spite of being favorites. Have Team India worked on this?
Yes, mental aspect play a huge factor in multi-sporting event especially in the Olympics. It was our first Olympics. Olympic is totally a different ball game. You need to be mentally very strong while completing in Olympics.
Archery itself is a very mental game. Since it’s a one-on-one competition; it really matters how you perform on that moment. Yes, we have worked to improve the mental aspect of the game, which is very important.
If you compare Asian Games with Olympics, how easy or hard is the competition.
Definitely Asian Games is not easy. If you see the world ranking, Korea is ranked no.1 both in men’s and women’s competition followed by Japan and China. So in Asian Games you have all the top ranked teams participating. Koreans are so strong in this game that anyone from their top 20 can win Gold on their given day. Competition wise it is equal to the Olympics.
Expectation on Archery team is quite high, is that an add on pressure?
Yes, it does but that is part and parcel of the game. You need to take it.
How confident are you both for Recurve Individual and Recurve team event in Incheon 2014?
We are confident to put up our best show. Good show in World Cup surely boosted our confidence.
What are the chances in Archery for Team India as a whole in Incheon 2014?
We have strong chance for podium finish in both men’s and women’s category especially in team event
How is the support you are getting from government and non-governmental organization to prepare for the big tournaments?
Support from Sports Authority of India has been enormous and fantastic. SAI have helped us with equipment and training. Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) has also supported us throughout. Infact OGQ’s physio Dr Nikhil Latey travelled to Delhi to help us. OGQ is sponsoring six of archers in Asian Games. On the whole, I am happy with the support we are getting now for Archery. Of course Archery Association of India (AAI) has supported and backed us always.Published 10 Sep 2014, 13:06 IST