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Archer Aditi's parents on a 'suit hunt' at Palika Bazar for Arjuna Awards ceremony!

Source: PTI
January 08, 2024 19:06 IST
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IMAGE: The 17-year-old made history in August last year when she became the youngest world archery champion. Photograph: Kind courtesy Aditi Swami/Instagram

Archer Aditi Swami's parents from Maharashtra's Satara were in a 'suit hunt' at Delhi's Palika Bazar after arriving at the national capital on a frigid winter morning to attend their daughter's Arjuna Award ceremony on Tuesday.

After landing in Delhi, Gopichand and Shaila Swami realised that they have come without formal dresses to wear at the National Sports Awards function to be graced by President Droupadi Murmu.

So, they rushed to Palika Bazar in Connaught Place to buy formal clothing for the "most special day" of their lives.

"We have come with our ordinary clothes but after coming here Aditi told me that we need something formal for the occasion," Gopichand told PTI from Delhi.


"To witness our child receiving Arjuna Award from the President will be an unparalleled moment of pride for us. It will be the most cherished moment for a parent. And we must go prepared," said Gopichand, a primary school mathematics teacher at Kanher village in Satara.

President Murmu will give away the sports awards at a formal function at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Tuesday.

Aditi's parents are living a dream as their lives have taken a fast-paced turn since their 17-year-old daughter became the youngest archery world champion last year.

On Tuesday, Aditi will become the youngest able-bodied archer to receive the Arjuna Award. Sheetal Devi, the 16-year old armless para-archer, and Aditi's practice partner Ojas Deotale will also be honoured with the Arjuna Award on Tuesday.

"I could not become a sportsperson and I was more interested in academics. Now my daughter is achieving laurels in sport. We are so proud of her," said Gopichand.

Aditi made history in August last year when she became the youngest world archery champion. She claimed India's first-ever individual title at the World Archery Championships with compound women's gold in Berlin.

She beat Andrea Becerra 149-147 in the showpiece to become a double world champion, having earlier earned compound women's team gold.

Reflecting on Aditi's surreal journey, Gpichand said: "World Cup medals, World champion, Asian Games medals and now Arjuna. We never ever imagined she would rise so fast.

"Life has been on a fast lane and we are here on an Rashtrapati Bhavan invitation. It feels like a dream," said Aditi's proud father.

Aditi has made a rapid rise after taking to archery at the age of 10 on the advice of her father.

"I wanted her to take up some sport so as to complement her studies. And she chose archery after seeing the sport in our Satara stadium," Gopichand recalled.

Aditi's journey then started under her coach Pravin Sawant who also coached Ojas Deotale at the same academy.

Artistic Aditi

Aditi has a never-say-die attitude which helped her learn her archery skills but she is also an avid artist who loves to draw portraits of Goddess Saraswati, according to her father.

"She is really a skilful artist and draws flawless without any basic coaching. Whenever she's free, she's at it," said Gopichand.

"Guess, it helps her in her concentration during shooting."

Getting Arjuna this year was a goal for Aditi and she said she's not going to stop with the laurel.

"This was the goal this year, but I'm not here to stop. I will strive to do my best and win Khel Ratna," Aditi said.

In fray for World Games Award

Aditi has also been nominated for the World Games' athlete of the year award for 2023. The winner will be decided by public vote starting Wednesday.

The contest runs until the end of January, with only the top 10 passing an initial cut-off on January 22. 

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