Viswash targets second Asiad medal after 12 years

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At a time when his former teammate Sawaiyan Majhi has been appointed Indian recurve coach, the 33-year-old would look to bring his playing career back on track with a second medal from the Asian Games in Indonesia.

Viswash, who had won a team bronze in Doha 2006 Asiad, is the only Asian Games medallist in the four-smember men’s recurve squad that has promising youngster Atanu Das and the rookie duo of Sukhchain Singh and Jagdish Choudhary.

“I’ve been on and off the Indian side, while many of my former teammates like Limba Ram, Satyadev Prasad, Majhi have either retired or are into coaching. But I feel I have the burning desire to deliver,” Viswash, who cut his teeth in archery in 1997 with the likes of Limba Ram, Prasad and Majhi, told PTI before heading out to Jakarta.

“The upcoming Asian Games could be a turning point in my career. There’s Olympics in two years, one good show, and you never know. Your career may be back running,” Viswash said.

His aspirations may not be far-fetched, considering that the Archery Association of India is grappling to find a set men’s recurve team, and have tried out more than a dozen junior and senior archers in two years.

It has reflected in their poor show as they have last won a World Cup medal, a bronze, in 2016 while a gold medal last came in 2010 Shanghai World Cup.

They returned empty-handed from Incheon Asian Games four years ago. The recurve archers have been written off by many and the mixed pair and women’s team events are only seen as medal prospects.

“This can be a real advantage for us. We can shoot freely and look for a medal (in the team event). After all, we have been doing well among the Asian countries. It’s about one good day of shooting,” Viswash said.

Viswash had won a team silver medal at the Asian Archery Championships in Yangon in 2003 with Satyadev Prasad, Tarundeep Rai and Majhi as his teammates.

Having switched to coaching, Majhi has been appointed the recurve team coach.

“It’s strange that he will now give me instructions,” he said in a lighter vein, adding: “We know each other for more than a decade now. We started our careers almost together. Our understanding will definitely help.”

Asked whether he would have any problem shooting with junior archers like Das, Singh and Choudhary, he said: “We all have come from selection trials. Moreover, Das has got a lot of experience, being at the Rio Olympics… He also has won medals at World Cup level. I don’t think we are short on experience. I’m really looking forward to shooting with them.”

Tell him about the 2014 Asian Games, and the Uttar Pradesh archer says: “It’s all past. There’s no point looking behind. Now we are back winning. Deepika is also in good form. I’m sure we can aim for at least three medals (from recurve section) this time.”

With the addition of mixed pair, there will be five events in the recurve section, while compound will have only three on offer with the exclusion of individual categories.