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Asian Games: 'Shoot as if it's your last shot'

Source: PTI
October 06, 2023 01:33 IST
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IMAGE: Rookies Aditi Swami and Parneet Kaur revealed how Jyothi Surekha Vennam’s pep talk helped them win gold. Photograph: Anurag Thakur/X

Handling pressure at the highest level can be tricky for rookies but archers Aditi Swami and Parneet Kaur were fortunate to have the seasoned Jyothi Surekha Vennam by their side as they clinched the women's team compound gold medal at the Asian Games.

Jyothi gave the teenagers "pep talk" at a crucial juncture during their final against Chinese Taipei in Hangzhou on Thursday.

"She was saying 'aise shoot karo ki zindagi ka last shot hai' (shoot as if it's the last shot of your life), she told me, so I gave it my best," the 17-year-old Aditi, who became the youngest world champion two months back, said.


"She guides us every time, since the time we were little. She pushed us and said, 'No, we can do it, we did it before so this time we can also do it'," Aditi added.

"Yes, we were behind but we were confident to overcome the deficit. Coach said don't give up and just keep at it. So we wanted to take it till the last and had full faith in the team."

The women's compound team edged Chinese Taipei by the thinnest of margins, securing the gold medal win by just one point with Jyothi, Aditi and Parneet shooting 60 out of 60 in the final round of a heart-stopping contest.

"We were just focused what's there in our hands. We fought till the end. We're always confident.

"We get along with each other very well. We have won our third medal together as a team: the first was at the world championships, the second was at the World Cup, and now at this Asian Games," said the 18-year-old Parneet.

"The more we practise with each other, the more adjusted we become to each other, and we know how to motivate each other and get together with each other during the shots."

The scores were locked 200-200 till the last set but the young Aditi and Parneet remained ice-cool to find three more 10s in the final three arrows.

The 27-year-old Jyothi always shoots last in the sequence and follows a simple strategy: "I was just thinking to shoot in a way that I don't regret later. I followed my shooting process and executed it," said Jyothi.

Humble beginning

Daughter of a government school maths teacher from Satara, Aditi's transformation as an archer happened after she joined Drushti Academy in Satara's Wadhe Phata area.

"My parents have helped me a lot because they introduced me to archery and they pushed me in archery. They have given me support from everywhere.

"They are watching from home in Maharashtra in India. I spoke to my daddy on the phone this morning. He said, 'Just enjoy your game, enjoy the situations and do your best'. I will speak to them again and say, 'I did it'," she said.

A frail-looking Aditi came up the hard way and would practice at a sugarcane field that was transformed into an academy by her coach Pravin Sawant.

"Aditi was really unimpressive, an emaciated 10-year-old when she came to the stadium where I used to train. But her stubbornness caught my eyes and the journey began," Aditi's childhood coach Sawant, who has accompanied her to Hangzhou, said.

"She was really hardworking, would not take any break after a competition and train here for hours. I knew she is a champion in the making," Sawant added.

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