When it comes to archery in Olympics, South Korea always manages to hit the bull’s eye. To emulate their success and learn their secrets, Indian Army’s Sports Institute sent a team comprising two archers, two coaches and a manager to South Korea. The team trained at the Archery Academy of Hyung Tak Kim, a legend in the sport of archery, from August 26 to September 20.
Coach Kim, as he is popularly known, has 44 years of experience. “A tireless, cheerful Olympic-level coach, he possess all qualities of a great teacher. He is very keen to share knowledge with students and has continued with research in the sport of archery,” said Sub Ravi Shankar, one of the coaches who was a part of the training.
Kim’s methods started bearing fruits in 1979 when his student Young Sook Park won two gold medals and a silver at the World championship. However, in 1984, when Hyang Soon Seo won the Olympic gold at Los Angeles, the true genius of Kim emerged before the world.
After a long association with Korean and Taiwanese archery, Kim opened his coaching academy in 2005 at Goesan, about 200 km from South Korea capital, Seoul. Archers from over 25 nations have already trained at the academy.
The 2013 Women’s World Champion Maja Jager of Denmark has trained at the academy and has made Goesan her home, where she is enrolled at a local university and practises daily under Kim’s tutelage.
The Indian Army archers who trained under Kim were Sub Tarundeep Rai, VSM, who has won medals at all major games and championships and has participated in 2004 and 2012 Olympics, and Sub Vishwas who was a part of the Bronze medal winning team at 2006 Asian Games. “The Mission Olympic Wing of Army Headquarters is focusing on players before next year’s run-up to Rio Olympics. We have benefited immensely under coach Kim’s training. He has made some considerable changes to our shooting by conducting in-depth video analysis of each archer’s individual shooting technique,” said Rai.
For Indian Army, the journey towards Rio will begin in mid-February when the selections for Indian team get under way. Thereafter, the qualifying event in Turkey in June and Olympics in August is a crucial period for the archers who are now honing skills at the Army Sports Institute in Pune.
Coaches Shankar and Sub Chungda Sherpa, who learnt the tricks of the trade from Kim, are now preparing archers for the Rio Olympics.