SMVDSB trained Rakesh creates history; becomes 1st archer to qualify for Tokyo Olympics -
SMVDSB trained Rakesh creates history; becomes 1st archer to qualify for Tokyo Olympics
Posted 07 Jun 2019 05:36 PM

Representing the country, ace Para Archer Rakesh Kumar of Jammu and Kashmir has created history to become 1st Para Archer from India to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics Games considering his performance in the ongoing World Para Archery Championship at Netherland.
The 10th seeded Para Archer, who hails from Katra in district Udhampur, trains at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) coaching centre.
“Rakesh has become first Indian Para Archer to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. He is presently in the race for Bronze medal when he meets Giam Paolo of Italy tomorrow in the World Para Archery Championship,” informed National Archery Coach Sanjeeva Singh and Director Sports, SMVDSB, Ashok Kumar while talking to EXCELSIOR.
Meanwhile, Chairman Governing Council on Sports of SMVDSB Sports Complex, Dr Ashok Bhan and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SMVDSB, Simrandeep Singh have congratulated Rakesh and his coach in their message.
Rakesh seeded 10th after the ranking round at the Para World Championships, hit a competition best of 689 points during the compound men’s open ranking round in ’s Hertogenbosch in Netherlands.
It was only two years ago that the 34-year old took up the sport. He has travelled to the 2019 World Archery Para Championships with his coach Kuldeep and brother Ayja.
The group believes he has a shot at gold.
“Rakesh lives 600 or 700 kilometres away from my hometown. I went there, I met him on the street. I told him about archery, motivated and invited him to try the sport. Then he wasn’t inspired so much,” said Kuldeep.
“But when he came to our ground and tried it out, I think he decided on that day he would be an archer,” Kuldeep added.
It is pertinent to mention here that in 2018, Rakesh was part of a team that clinched gold by winning the second leg of the European Para Archery Circuit in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. He was a mixed team bronze medallist along with Jyoti at the Fazza Para World ranking event earlier this year in Dubai, too.
“Ten years ago I had an accident, I sat at home and did nothing. I thought I could go out and do something different. May be my life would change that way,” he said.
Rakesh suffered a spinal injury in a car crash in 2007 and has limited mobility. He uses a wheelchair and relies on both his coach and brother Ayja.
“We’re now best friends. He’s doing very well and we’re very close to each other. World Archery allows an athlete to invite an attendant, as well as a coach,” explained coach Kuldeep.
“A coach’s tasks are different and an attendant’s work is different. He takes care of a person in a room, washes his clothes, does everything. Para archers can’t always do those things themselves. And Rakesh decided to call his brother.”
The highest-seeded Indian archer in the compound men’s open event shows plenty of gratitude towards the 26-year old Ayja.
“From the day I had an accident, my brother has always supported me. And from the day I started archery, he’s been with me on the ground,” said Rakesh.
“Our main aim is to achieve gold at the 2020 Summer Paralympics. We’re interested only in gold,” said coach Kuldeep.
“And here, in the Netherlands, definitely gold is our target, as well.”
Meanwhile, National Coach Sanjeeva Singh was all praise for the SMVDSB’s Coaching Centre established in September 2017 and attributed his success to Coach Kuldeep Vedwan.
He said coaches Kuldeep and Abhilasha from Uttar Pradesh were hired by SMVDSB way back in 2018 when they were imparting training at Puduchery.
“Hats off to Rakesh’s journey from accident to archery champion,” expressed Sanjeeva.

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