Team looks forward with hope despite myriad hurdles
Ladakh has reached a sporting milestone by making its debut in the National championships here.
Prior to this, Ladakhi archers’ participation, as part of Jammu and Kashmir, in the National championships was minimal.
Gulzar Ahmed Khan, a former archer and manager of the Ladakh team, hopes participation in the elite event will promote the sport in the Union Territory.
“Archery and polo are the traditional sports of Ladakh. It is in our blood. In 2014, we started recurve and compound archery — watching it on YouTube. Stanzin Doller, our only NIS diploma-holder coach, has overseen our preparations for some time.
“We got affiliation in 2020. We held preliminary trials in Kargil and Leh and a final selection trial. We got about a week for practice, then flew in here,” a proud Ahmed Khan told The Hindu.
He underscored the challenges. “Equipment is expensive, but the authorities have promised to start a scheme with a 75% subsidy on equipment.
“Also, we come from a cold region. If we get 10-15 days practice ahead of a big event, then our boys will do well. We just need to be informed a little earlier,” he said.
Compound archer Stanzin Jigdal said, “It is great to participate here. Hopefully, this will inspire others.”
Coach Doller, who picked up archery while at college in Chandigarh and competed in the Nationals, wanted her trainees to excel at international events. “There were no coaches in Ladakh, that’s why I did NIS (diploma). For the last two years I have been training kids and para-archers at my academy.
“My parents ask, ‘Why do you do something without being paid?’ With progress, there will be more coaches. I want my kids to do what I could not,” said Doller.
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