Tribune press service
New Delhi, October 9
Parth Sushant Salunkhe was elated as he stood on the podium after winning the individual gold medal in the recurve men’s event at the National Archery Championships today.
Parth, who represented Maharashtra, defeated Sukhchain Singh of Services 7-3 to win gold at the Nationals. Amit Yadav from Madhya Pradesh won bronze.
The 17-year-old was trained by his father Sushant for a good period from 2014 to 2017 after his initial trainer left his training school – New English Medium School a few months after his arrival in 2012.
About a year went by with little or no help, and then Sushant took matters into his own hands. A former national silver medalist in kickboxing, Sushant wanted his son to pursue his dreams. Relying on YouTube tutorials, he first learned on his own and then passed the skills on to his son. Life changed after being spotted during testing of Khelo India in Aurangabad. He moved to the Sports Authority of India hub in Sonipat in 2018 and hasn’t looked back since.
“My father never wanted me to quit. He first learned through the internet, watched YouTube and then trained me, ”Parth told The Tribune over the phone from Jamshedpur.
“I think he never played the sport himself, so he wanted me to continue. My father is a teacher, my mother Anjali is a librarian, so you can imagine how difficult it would have been for me to survive. My father did everything to keep me in the sport. I’m so happy I won and hope more wins will follow, ”added Parth, who is a Class XII student at LNSK Junior College in Satara. Studies, however, have fallen behind and there is hardly time for it these days. “I was a good student when archery was not at the center of my projects. Now I’m an average student at best. My training takes a lot of my time, ”he said.
Roller coaster of an outing
Parth, who won team gold at the World Junior Championships in 2021 and also represented the senior team at the World Championships in Yankton, USA, was scared in the semifinals against Amit. However, he settled in well before winning 6-4.
The final was also a close shave as Sukchain recovered from the loss of the first set to make it 3-3, but Satara’s boy won the next two sets to win 7-3.
“The semi-final game was my toughest,” said Parth, who placed third after the qualifying round with a total of 673 points.
“I think I got a little nervous. Amit bhai added big arrows to it but I survived to win. The final was a little easier, ”he explained.
Big hitters bite the dust
The big names, including Deepika Kumari, Atanu Das and Jayanta Talukdar, have all failed to secure podium spots in the individual heats. The women’s individual round was won by Dipti Kumari of Jharkhand who beat her teammate Komalika Bari 7-3. Simranjeet Kaur from Punjab won the gold medal.
Deepika, who topped the standings with 655 points, lost her round of 16 to Manvi Sharma of Punjab 7-3, while Atanu was tamed by former international Kapil 6-2 in the pre-quarter-final. Jayanta lost to Sukhchain at the pre-quarterfinals stage.
The story was similar in mixed team competitions. Deepika and Atanu, representing the PSPB, lost in the quarterfinals to Prachi Singh and Kapish Singh of Rajasthan. The event was won by the duo Jharkhand Komalika and Jayanta Talukdar.