India’s top woman compound archer Jyothi Surekha Vennam recognizes the magnitude of the competition and value that the Asian Games holds and although that is not on par with the Olympics, She considers that an Asian Games medal is worth its weight in gold.
“I don’t regret that compound is not an Olympic discipline. I’m just happy at what I’m today. For me, Asian Games is second to Olympics. It’s a big event, I’m looking forward to it,” Jyothi told PTI, ahead of the compound qualification rounds that begin in Jakarta on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old from Vijayawada was a key member of India’s silver medal wins in Berlin and Antalya World Cups this year.
Perched at number one in the world rankings ahead of their Asian Games rivals Chines Taipei (second) and Korea (fourth), Indian compound women’s team would be a gold medal favourite.
“I’m lucky to be a member of the team. It’s a combination of hard work and luck.”
Having started off as a swimmer at the age of four, Jyothi would swim across the Krishna river. But she had to give up swimming for archery in 2007 as there was no coaching back home in Vijaywada.
“I do miss swimming, so sometimes I swim just to relax. But there’s no looking back,” Jyothi, who is world number 14 in individual section, said.
“Initially, I did not know that compound did not figure in Olympics. Despite that, I continued as taking up recurve section would have been to start from the scratch. I did not want to do that,” she said.
With individual events being scrapped, the compound archers will have three events — team (men’s and women’s) and mixed pair — this time.
A woman of few words, Jyothi does not want to think too far ahead and is focused on a strong qualification round, something that will give them an advantage in the draw.
“We have to start off well. We only have two categories, so let’s wait and watch. It all depends on what happens on that given day,” the Incheon Asian Games bronze medallist said.
The Indian women’s team had lost to Chinese Taipei by a slender three-point margin at Antalya World Cup in May this year.
In Berlin, it was a matter of one point that separated them from the gold-medal winning French team.
“Everyone wants to win the gold medal for their nation. Maybe next time,” she said.
Jyothi is part of the Centre of Excellence for compound archers based in Sport Authority of India training Centre in Sonepat since 2016.
It means staying out of family throughout the year.
“I go only during the exams,” Jyothi, who is pursuing MBA, said.
“If you have to achieve something, you need to make some sacrifice. I miss them (parents) but I’ve no other option left, the goal is to win an individual World Championship medal,” Jyothi concluded.
(WITH PTI INPUTS)