The archers in the national camp at the Army Sports Institute in Pune are slowly getting into their stride.
The camp started on August 25, but most archers have been observing the mandatory 14-day quarantine after assembling from different parts of the country.
Tarundeep Rai, Pravin Jadhav, Vishwas and B. Dhiraj, who were already at the institute before the camp began, started training straightaway.
“They are in their normal rhythm and routine. Some started yesterday [Wednesday] and some are joining today [Thursday] after quarantine. They start slowly, with 10-metre shooting and physical exercise, with the focus on flexibility. Concentration is more on muscle endurance and strength,” said physio Arvind Yadav.
Given the travel restrictions, not all 16 archers have joined the camp. Some are still in the process of arranging their journey to Pune.
“Most of the archers did not have the space and exposure to train during lockdown. So, we have to be careful with the physical preparation,” said Arvind, who has the experience of assisting the team in the Olympics and Asian Games.
A cautious approach is the key even if the archers are hungry and enthusiastic to train hard, despite there being no competition in the calendar this year.
“We have to put some restrictions and make the athletes understand that they can’t go really hard. They still need to have all those muscles activated before activity,” said Arvind, emphasising the vital aspect of tuning the body to meet the rigours of training.
Most of the archers were occupied with fitness work and short-distance shooting during the lockdown. “Overall, things look good. We need to set small goals and keep progressing every day,” said Arvind. It will be the job of the physio to lay a strong foundation for the archers before the coaches take over in fine-tuning their technique.
The Indian men have won the Olympic quota for Tokyo. The women’s team has a chance to qualify next year; an individual quota has already been won.