Archers hope for early resolution

Kolkata: With World Archery suspending the national federation on Thursday, the beleaguered Indian archers rued that there's no end to their suffering due to the association infighting and said they are now contemplating writing to the sports minister Kiren Rijiju.

The World Archery's decision is effective from Monday and the last event in which the archers can participate under the Indian flag is the World Archery Youth Championships in Madrid from August 19-25.

The WA will further wait till the end of this month and if no solution is reached, the archers may be robbed of representing India at the Asian Championships in Bangkok in November, a continental Olympic qualification event.

The announcement came on the penultimate day of the selection trials for the Asian Championship. It is a big blow for the medal-fancied women's team who are yet to secure an Olympic quota place, while men's have already cut.

"Now without federation, we may have to play for World Archery. We may not get benefit from the Indian government. Federation is in no mood to listen to our pleas and engaged in mudslinging with each other. We are not sure about our fate," senior-most Indian woman archer Laishram Bombayla Devi told PTI from Sonepat.

The former Olympian further said they are contemplating writing to Rijiju.

"All our focus currently are on the trials. We will sit together and may write to the sports minister," the former World Championships silver medallist said, hoping that the house gets in order soon with Tokyo Olympics less than a year left.

Indian women's team coach Poornima Mahato said they have been suffering since 2012 when they first were suspended by the sports ministry for defiance of the National Sports Code.

"Let them keep fighting at the expense of archers' fate. It's terrible news for the players. Only the archers will be at loss, no one else will suffer," Mahato said.

She said the top archers may get support from the sports ministry but the remaining will be left in the lurch.

"Even if they win a medal, it will be under the WA banner. Overall the players will suffer. It's been going on for over seven years now but nobody is bothered. They are just busy fighting with each other. Federation is not in a position to take a stand. Who will speak for us now?" she asked.

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