Khelo India University Games: DAV College’s Prarthana Solanki clinches silver in archery

Nitin Sharma

Prarthana Solanki started training in recurve archery under coach Komal Sharma at Panjab University grounds. (Express Photo)

LAST YEAR when Bareilly archer Prarthana Solanki shifted base to Chandigarh, the archer was only competing in the Indian round of archery and knew nothing about recurve archery. The youngster, who is currently pursuing PGDCA at DAV College, Sector 10, started training in recurve archery under coach Komal Sharma at Panjab University grounds.

On Wednesday, Solanki claimed the silver medal in women’s individual recurve event in Khelo India University Games being held at Bhubneswar, Odisha. In the final, Solanki gave a tough fight to Priyanka Thakran of Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak with the score being tied 5-5 followed by Solanki losing in the tie-break with Thakran’s shot of 9 being closer to the centre than Solanki’s shot of 9.

“When I shifted to Chandigarh, I had competed in Indian round in state and national tournaments. Komal Sharma, archery coach at Panjab University, told me to try recurve archery and I started training for this event. To win my first medal in Khelo India University Games is a special feeling. l The score was tied after the first ten rounds and we both shot 9 in the tie-breaker. I lost on the account of my shot being less closer to the centre. Such things happen in archery but the silver medal is also a huge motivation for me.”

Solanki, whose father Munendrapal Singh Solanki is a farmer in Narau village near Bareilly, competed in the Uttar Pradesh State Archery Competitions in Indian round before she left her hometown to pursue studies in Chandigarh.

The 21-year-old started training under coach Komal Sharma at PU grounds and won her first medal at the national level in the All India Inter-university Archery Championship held at Bhubneswar in December last year.

Solanki claimed the individual recurve title apart from helping Panjab University to claim the team gold medal.

“It took me some time to adjust to the recurve event. Winning the gold medal in the All India Inter-University Championships made me believe that I can win at the national level. My role model has been my coach Komal Sharma and I dedicate today’s medal to her. My next aim is to win a medal in the nationals next month apart from sealing a spot in the Indian team for International competitions,” shared Solanki.

PU archery coach Komal Sharma believes that the recent medals will help Solanki’s confidence and the youngster will improve further.

“When she first came to train under me, we had to work on her stamina apart from rectifying some technical flaws. We had to adjust her arm position apart from setting the anchor. Her strength has been her confidence and mental strength and she showed that in All India Inter-University Championships last year. Winning a medal in Khelo India University Games will boost her confidence ahead of next month’s nationals,” shared Sharma.