Published: 11:39, May 12, 2024 | Updated: 11:46, May 12, 2024
India on course for maiden Olympic medal in archery, says Kim
By Reuters
This picture taken on June 22, 2021 shows former South Korean archery coach Kim Hyung-tak, who coached the national team for the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, pulling a bowstring during an interview with AFP at his archery training center in Goesan. (PHOTO / AFP)

NEW DELHI - India have never won an Olympic medal in archery, but celebrated coach Kim Hyung-tak will not be surprised if they break the duck in Paris.

Between 2004 and 2020, India's men's, women's and mixed teams made the quarter-finals six times but could not secure a podium finish.

Only Dhiraj Bommadevara has won a quota place for India in archery for the Paris Games, while the recurve archers are chasing a team quota in a qualification tournament in Turkey next month.

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They are particularly upbeat after Bommadevara, Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadhav stunned reigning Olympic champions South Korea to win a World Cup team gold last month.

"The average level of the team has got a notch higher," Kim, who conducted a two-day camp for the archers, told the Sports Authority of India media on Saturday.

"The frequent coaching camps... too are contributing to the cause, and constant collaboration is only helping the team get that elusive medal at the Olympics."

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Kim had a special session with three-time Olympian Deepika Kumari, who won a silver in the World Cup in Shanghai, her second successive medal since returning from a 14-month maternity break.

Kim, who guided South Korean women's recurve team to their first Olympic gold at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, was pleased with the mix of experience and youth in the Indian camp.

"There are many young archers and this is only good for the future of Indian archery," said Kim, who has trained more than 500 archers from 30 nations.

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"The experienced heads like Deepika, Tarundeep are guiding the young archers. This helps a lot in team building and this is very important in the build up to the Paris Games."

Known for his extensive use of technology in training, Kim was impressed by the coaching facilities at the SAI National Centre of Excellence in the north Indian city of Sonipat.

"Since I've come here, I've seen more high level and detailed training provided to the archers," the coach said.

"The training programs, which use a lot of technology, are also very well crafted."