Akash Malik, on Wednesday, became the first Indian to win a silver medal in archery at the Youth Olympic Games. The 16-year-old suffered a defeat in the final to USA’s Trenton Cowles 0-6 in the men’s recurve event. The archer, who achieved his training at the Army Sports Institute in Pune, started of brilliantly in the final, as he shot a 10 in his first attempt.
In his second attempt, he squandered his chances of winning the set by shooting a 6. Even though he managed to get another 10 in his third, he lost the first set 26-28 to the US archer, who shot 9,9 and 10. In the second set, Cowles shot two 10s and 9 to grab a 29-27 victory.
In the third set, Akash shot another six that hampered his chances of keeping the final alive. Even though he picked up 10s in the next two attempts, he lost the set 26-28 to Cowley.
Akash Malik(seed 5) wins Archery Recurve Men Silver.
Opponent:Trenton Cowles(seed 15, USA).
— Olympic Press (@OlympicPressOrg) 17 October 2018
“I have trained in the wind, but here it was too much,” said Akash. “I feel good but I lost the gold medal,” Akash said as he bettered Atul Verma’s feat of a bronze at the Nanjing edition of the Games in 2014.
“One day my friends took me to a field where I saw kids aiming at a target with arrows. Mujhe laga woh shikaar kar rahe hain (I thought they were hunting something),” Akash said. Akash, who used to play cricket with his friends, developed a fascination for the ‘new-found sport’.
“Mujhe laga mein kuchh kar sakta hoon (I thought I could do something),” he said. Akash’s father Narender Malik, who is into wheat and cotton farming, never wanted his son to join him at the fields.
“Initially my parents dissuaded me as they wanted me to study to land up a government job. But after I started winning medals they have started backing me fully. They must be very happy now,” Akash, who will return to India with the contingent on Sunday, said.
“Now I’ve to put in more effort and hope to qualify for Tokyo Olympics,” he said about his mission 2020.
Akash took up archery six years ago after Manjeet Malik, a physical-trainer-turned-archery-coach, picked him during a trial. “He was very calm and composed and I thought he could shoot arrows steadily. He now shoots with confidence. It was raining as well when the final started,” the coach told PTI.
Malik’s win in the event took India’s total tally in the Games to 13 medals, comprising of 3 Golds, 9 Silver and 1 Bronze. India stood in the 14th position in the rankings.
(With inputs from PTI)