More than two months ago, when para archer Harvinder Singh travelled to his village Ajitnagar village in Kaithal district in Haryana from Patiala, the 2018 Para Asian Games gold medallist had thought of making a return to Patiala the same week to resume his training.
But the nationwide lockdown ensured that Singh had to stay put in his village and wait for relaxations to get his equipment home to train. He finally did it last week.
With the lockdown curbs relaxed, the 28-year-old got his full set of archery equipment from Punjabi University, Patiala and has now started training at his family’s seven-acre farm.
Singh told The Indian Express: “When I came from Patiala to my village, I had not thought of staying at home for such a long time. I started training at my room with the target at a distance of 5m. It was just to keep the muscle memory intact and I also started my fitness training. Ten days ago, I got the full set including the full target and we got the target set up in half-acre of land out of the seven acres. Initially, it was bit difficult as my body was not ready for shooting 70m, but now I am back to my best. We will sow paddy soon at the farmland but I plan to keep the half-acre free for my training with social distancing measures in place.” The 28-year-old had won the recurve gold medal in W2/ST category in 2018 Para Asian Games at Indonesia.
After winning India’s first individual gold in archery at 2018 Para Asian Games, Singh had secured the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics quota for India in the W2/ST category with a joint-ninth place finish in the World Para archery Championships in Netherlands last year. He had also won the bronze medal in the recurve team event along with Rajesh Kumar and Vivek Chitkara in the Asian Para Archery Championships at Bangkok, Thailand in October last year.
Prior to the lockdown, Singh had also competed in Indoor Archery Competition at Las Vegas, USA in February and the para archer was planning to train in South Korea in April.
“After securing the Paralympics quota for India last year, my aim was to compete in as many international tournaments. While Archery Association of India (AAI) was suspended by World Archery last year, we played under world Archery flag and earlier this year the suspension was lifted. Training in USA helped my mindset and I had planned to train in South Korea in April. But the training got cancelled. While we understand that it would take at least six months to international archery competitions to start, it has also given us more time to prepare for trials of Indian team for next year’s Tokyo Paralympics,” shared Singh, who is pursuing his PhD from Punjabi University, Patiala.
Singh is also utilising the free time to prepare notes for his PhD apart from attending some online sessions by coaches and watching videos of some of world’s best archers. “I do fitness drills everyday for 90 minutes under the watch of Olympic Gold Quest physiotherapist Abdul sir apart from preparing notes for my PhD. I have also attended online seminars by SAI and AAI apart from talking with coaches Jiwanjot Singh and Gaurav Sharma. I am also watching videos of three-time Olympic medallist Brady Ellison of USA,” said Singh.
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