Aim­ing High

Gurme­har Kaur Gre­wal, 15, Archery, Chandigarh

India Today - - COVERSTORY -

SUC­CESS STORY Chandigarh’s first fe­male com­pet­i­tive archer, Gre­wal, who holds a schol­ar­ship un­der the Kh­elo In­dia scheme, was se­lected to be part of the na­tional camp at Au­rangabad this year.

OPEN­ING UP Com­ing from a fam­ily that al­ways en­cour­aged her to carve her own path, the young woman was drawn to the game at an early age. “My par­ents ex­posed me to sev­eral games by the age of five. How­ever, there was some­thing about archery that fas­ci­nated me, and I pur­sued it fur­ther,” she says. To be­gin with, Gre­wal started prac­tic­ing at her fam­ily-owned farm­house near Chandigarh. She soon needed proper in­fra­struc­ture and shifted to Pan­jab Univer­sity, Chandigarh cam­pus to con­tinue her train­ing.

AGAINST ALL ODDS Her great­est dif­fi­culty has been find­ing a train­ing ground to nur­ture her skills. When she started vis­it­ing Pan­jab Univer­sity, she faced ob­jec­tions and had to stop train­ing at the var­sity premises. At this point, her par­ents set up an academy in Sec­tor 39 with help from a gu­rud­wara’s man­age­ment com­mit­tee by con­vinc­ing the gu­rud­wara to lease the land re­quired to build a range. To­day, 18 stu­dents, taught by cel­e­brated archer Anurag Ka­mal— who was part of the 2008 squad that won gold at the South Asian Archery Cham­pi­onship in Jamshedpur—train at the academy.

FOLKS HAVE HER BACK Ad­mit­ting that it would still take some time for young­sters to take to the game, she says, “Archery is a long-term sport and re­quires years of ded­i­ca­tion.

It also needs quite a lot of fi­nan­cial back­ing for lo­gis­tics and train­ing. Things are im­prov­ing, but there is still a long way to go.”

“I have been lucky to have a great sup­port sys­tem but archery is a longterm sport and re­quires years of ded­i­ca­tion. Things are im­prov­ing but we still have a long way to go.” Gurme­har Kaur Gre­wal, 15, Archer, Chandigarh

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