Playing Asiad with borrowed equipment, archer wants respect
By Amanpreet Singh
Jakarta, Aug 23 (PTI) Forced to use borrowed or second-hand equipment at the Asian Games, recurve archer Vishwas says unless the authorities stop treating them as second-grade athletes, it will be difficult to deliver at the big stage.
Vishwas, who is employed with Indian Army, said it hurts to see that they are not considered medal prospects and are not given proper support to train by the government.
"They have no expectations from us and perhaps that's why they do not include us in TOPS. I am using either borrowed equipment or the one I bought from other archers. Will it not affect you?," Vishwas, a 2006 Asian Games bronze medallist, said after he bowed out of the men's individual recurve event.
The aggrieved archer said they buy old equipment and assemble them to complete the kit.
"If people get support, they get it from all. The SAI, OGQ, GoSport. Everyone will support top players. We feel like we are second grades."
The Bareilly-born archer said that he was given Rs 2.5 lakh by the government for Asian Games but it landed in his account only two days before leaving for Jakarta.
"Now that money is still lying in my account. If they had given it before, I could have utilised it. And this is not enough. One proper set with a good bow and 12 arrows cost you more than 3-4 lakh. With this 2.5 lakh, I can only buy a used one," he lamented.
"In 2014-15 the budget was 2.5 lakh for us and after four years it is same. When they knew that we have been selected for Asiad, they could have released the funds early. If we ask anything from them, they say first you bring medals then we will help you," he explained.
Asked if using old equipment makes a huge difference to performance, the Pune-based archer said, It may not make much difference but what if the used equipment fails me during the competition."
Vishwas said the Indian Army's support is crucial and has kept him going.
"They are a very supportive but the system is such that it takes a long time to complete the formalities and the procedure