A quiver full of laurels
Bronze medal winner at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Gagandeep Kaur took up archery to gain fee concessions. Now she dreams of an Olympic medal
Gagan K. Teja
Gagandeep Kaurís (centre) focus is on the 2014 Asian Games. It is for the first time that compound archery has been included in the Asian Games
shot to fame with a bronze medal in the 2010 Commonwealth Games at New
Delhi, archer Gagandeep Kaur has become a household name in Punjab.
She has won numerous medals in various international championships,
including a silver medal in the World Cup in Ogden, USA, last year.
She has been a permanent member of the Indian contingent (compound
round) for quite some time now and her recent performance in the
inter-railway championship is a proof enough that she is here to stay.
Gagandeep Kaur during a training session
Born and brought up
in a lower middle class family, Gagandeep, till a couple of years
back, was like any other school student. Not even in her wildest
dreams she had thought of taking up sports as a profession. Gagandeep
used to accompany a friend to the archery ground. There she came to
know that sportspersons were given fee concessions, so she decided to
take it up.
When she entered
college she realised that she could gain more by being a professional
sportsperson. Gagandeep started of shooting on the recurve bow. But
since she was of short height and had a lean body, she could not go
beyond winning a couple of medals in the inter-university
Her coach Jiwanjot
Singh, who is working with Punjabi University, Patiala, suggested that
she should switch to the compound event and that did the trick for
her. Within one year of switching, she not only made it to the Indian
team but also won back to back medals in various Asian Grand Prix
tournaments. These were followed by the her bronze medal win at 2010
At present her focus
is on the 2014 Asian Games that will be held at Incheon, Korea. This
may prove to be a very special tournament for her since it is for the
first time that compound archery has been included in the Asian Games.
star shares her dreams and future plans:
Q: What is next
in line this year?
immediate focus is on the senior national championship that will
be held in December-end since this will be a deciding factor as
to which players would be selected for the India camp for all
future international tournaments, including the 2014 Asian
Games. It is a big opportunity since archery will be making its
debut in the prestigious tournament. Therefore, it becomes all
the more important to be a part of it.
Q: Any special
preparations for the championships?
A: I am
currently focusing on my form as there it's been almost six
months since we participated in an international tournament.
Therefore, I am currently training for about five to six hours
each day to get in the groove and it seems to be going fine.
Q: One dream
you have cherished all these years?
every sportsperson, I, too, want to be a part of Olympics but
unfortunately compound archery has not yet been included in
Olympics. Now, that it has become a part of Asian Games, we are
hoping that it soon finds a place in the Olympics as well.
Q: Any message
for the upcoming players?
A: Continue to chase
your dreams no matter what because anything is possible if you
are committed. I literally had to struggle to continue my game
but my family and coach always supported me and here I am today.
I only wish that the government would be a little more
supportive and give jobs to all deserving players so that they
would perform well without bothering about their future. After
the Commonwealth Games, I was hoping that the Punjab Government
would offer me a job but it did not happen. I was lucky to be
chosen as senior clerk in the Railways. There are many more
international archers in Punjab but since there is no job scope,
they are drifting towards other states, which is unfortunate. I
just wish the government, instead of focusing on particular
games, supports every talented youngster. ó GT