Bengaluru: Sachin Gupta, one of the finalists in the archery event at the Khelo India University Games at the Jain University Global Campus on Wednesday, is having an extremely busy schedule after returning to the Indian team after a gap of five years.
He touched down in Bengaluru only on Tuesday morning from Turkey, where he was representing India at the Archery World Cup, where he was placed eighth in the qualification round.
On Wednesday, competing for his university with little rest and practice, the 24-year-old recurve archer was ranked fourth with 328 points behind Mayur Rokade (332) of Shivaji University, Kolhapur, Aditya Choudhary (331) of Lovely Professional University, Punjab and Sumedh Mohod (330) of Sant Gadge Baba Amravati University, Maharashtra among 39 competitors.
There is no rest for Sachin even after this. He will be competing in two more World Cups – in South Korea (Gwangju from May 16 to 22) and France (Paris from June 21 to 26) – and the World University Games at Chengdu in China from June 29 to July 3. He is also in the Indian team bound for Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
Speaking to The Bridge on Wednesday, Sachin said, “Every competition is important for me but my main focus is international events. This (Khelo India University Games) helps me to adapt to various conditions. It was cold in Turkey while here it is warm Moreover, I can not dismiss domestic competition as it is getting tougher day by day. So there is no point in differentiating tournaments. Khelo Games is for top eight archers from universities. I do not want to lose my berth in the Indian team. “
“When I lost my place in 2017, I was not crestfallen but I never thought I would have to wait this long. But I’m happy now, though,” he said.
The final year student of BSC Sports Science at Khalsa College, Kurukshetra University, is back in the national archery team after a five year gap even though he played junior nationals. For the Gurugram archer, beating Olympian and World No.9 Atanu Das 6-2 in the final of the National Championship at Jammu in March this year has brought a sudden spell of hope – and a hectic schedule.
At the Khelo India University Games, Thursday is exclusively for compound archers and so Sachin will get a much needed break. “I’ll practice after a good sleep,” said Sachin, who has been coached by Yogesh Chand Pal at the Yamuna Sports Complex in Delhi since 2014, when he was a Class X student.
“Coaching and personal coaches are important. I wish he was there in Turkey. I would have done better,” Sachin added.
Sachin, the 2019 Khelo India Youth Games and All India Inter-University champion, won his first gold at the national level in 2015 with a bamboo bow. Seven years later, he is still medal-less at the international level.
“I’m fully focused on the upcoming World Cup and then the Universaide. A medal in any one of the three meets will boost me for the Hangzhou Asiad,” he said.