Seventeen-year-old Binod Swansi recalls being nervous when he stepped inside the archery venue at the Asian Grand Prix in Bangkok. The event was only his second outside India and the first outing as part of the senior team.
Swansi though returned with a team bronze after being slotted with Atanu Das,20,another upcoming archer,and the experienced Rahul Banerjee. The trio edged out Indonesia for the medal. Das won an individual silver,while Banerjee took silver.
However,the showing of Swansi and Das has given the coaches hope for a bright future. The Asian Grand was one of the first tournaments after the London Games,where the Indian archers fared poorly. Hence the tournament was a chance for the coaches and the players themselves to access the strength of the team.
It is very important that we blood new talent and that we have a bench strength. So this tournament was very important for us in that regard,more so for Atanu and Binod,who are both young. We saw enough promise in them to believe that they are our long term prospects, says Dharmendra Tiwary,who has been tutoring the duo since the day they joined the Tata Archery Academy in Jamshedpur.
For Binod,who won his first senior international medal,the experience was priceless. Incidentally,Binod beat senior pros Jayanta Talukdar and Tarundeep Rai to make the team for the Asian Grand Prix.
The 17-year-old from Tamar near Ranchi,concedes that he had a bout of nerves before the qualification rounds in Bangkok.
I was nervous but once we started to shoot it was better,says Swansi. His last outing was at the 2010 Youth World Championship in Legnica,Poland,where he bagged the bronze in the mixed team event while pairing with Mainaw Narzary.
I won the trials ahead of senior players and was thrilled but winning a medal is more satisfying, Binod added.
Unlike Swansi,Das was more assured of his role. Das,another trainee of the TAA has had previous stints with the Indian set up.
I won the individual gold in Dhaka last year,so it is not that I have won for the first time, Atanu said.
Now I know that I need to keep working hard as others are always there to replace me. I have been part of the team on a number of occasions,but never got to stay there for long. Now all I need is to cement my place, Atanu added.