Navi Mumbai: Youngsters can concentrate more on sports, and not on external factors, if sponsors come in to help them, believes star Indian archer Atanu Das.
Atanu, who shot to fame during the Rio Olympics, earlier this year, recalled the time he himself had decided to take the sport up seriously, around a decade ago.
The 24-year-old, like many of the young archers in India, started off with the standard wooden bows, but was soon asked to switch to the recurve and compound bows.
However, the recurve bows are quite an expensive affair, and Atanu, who hails from a “middle-class family”, found it financially challenging to acquire one of them.
“The shift from wooden to recurve bows was financially difficult 10 years back,” said Atanu to Deccan Chronicle. “All the equipment cost me two lakhs.”
However, the star archer believes that the situation has improved a lot since the days of old.
Atanu, who took the world of archery by surprise with his quarterfinal finish in the Olympics earlier this year, made a guest appearance at the DY Patil Stadium, where a school meet was arranged by an initiative called Sports for All.
“Nowadays you can find sponsors. But back then there wasn't much help, so that was quite difficult,” he said.
“The sponsors that are coming in these days are helping the kids now. Since they wouldn't have these problems, they will have more interest in the sport.”
When asked about his own long term plans in the sport, Atanu said just six words: “to win gold at the Olympics.”
He continued, “I want to play this sport for as long as possible. I want to make the nation proud.”
The ace male Indian archer also spoke about the unique manner in which he has managed to keep his goals of winning an Olympic gold in focus – he got a tattoo that depicts the Olympics rings.
“I got this tattoo after the Olympics. I do not want to be distracted from my ultimate aim,” he said. “So whenever I get distracted, I have this tattoo right here, to remind me of my real goals.”...