Saturday, Sep 11, 2021 05:30 [IST]
Last Update: Friday, Sep 10, 2021 23:55 [IST]
The basic objective to establish the Tarundeep Rai Archery Academy in Sikkim is to focus, “The search for more Tarundeep” to participate at the Olympics level tournaments in coming days. The talented archers under this scheme will get a platform to excel their sporting talents under government’s facilities.
Sports Academy is a platform to learn the skills related to various sports with the help of scientific training methodology under the supervision of highly qualified professional sportspersons. In Sports Academy, an athlete will be provided with the necessary sports facilities to achieve the top performances at National and International competitions. Achiever will get ample opportunities to represent the high profile professional sports clubs and earn name & fame in professional sports career. Athletes will learn the sense of belonging, punctuality, obedience and leadership qualities in academy life.
The Department of Sports and Youth Affairs, Govt. of Sikkim organized the National Sports Day on 29th August 2021 at Samman Bhawan, Gangtok. The Hon’ble Chief Minister of Sikkim, Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) graced the function as the chief guest. The Minister of Sports & Youth Affairs, Kunga Nima Lepcha attended the function as the Guest of Honour.
Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang (Golay) announced on the occasion of National Sports Day – 2021 at Samman Bhawan that the Tarundeep Rai Archery Academy will be established in Sikkim and Chief Minister Sport’s Award for three best sportspersons will be awarded on Independence Day from the next year.
An amount of Rs. 5 lakh to Olympian Tarundeep Rai and Rs. 3 lakh to national boxing coach Sandhya Gurung were presented by the Chief Minister as a token of appreciation.
Before the Tokyo Olympics, the Chief Minister had also presented Rs. 5 lakh to Tarundeep Rai as a support.
The Chief Minister also announced that the Bhaichung Stadium at Namchi will be inaugurated soon and sports coordinator on each Gram Panchayat will be appointed. He stressed to focus on club culture in every village by quoting the football culture in Brazil in every corner. The SYA Department has released the cash incentives to the meritorious sports athletes for the year 2020-21.
The Chief Minister said: “The name of the Academy would be ‘Tarundeep Rai Archery Academy Sikkim’, and the same would be reflected in the budget of the next financial year. The Sports department will immediately start the preliminary work in consultation with Tarundeep Rai himself. The academy will give birth to many more Olympians in the future.”
The Chief Minister added that his government will leave no stone unturned for the promotion of sports activities in Sikkim. Due to the pandemic, it is not possible to carry out sports activities but as soon as situation becomes normal, the sports activities will come back, he said. He informed that the government has focused to complete all the pending projects of sports infrastructures of four districts.
Archery in Sikkim
Archery in Sikkim is more than a sport. It is attached with the cultural and religion sentiments of Sikkimese people. The Lepcha and Bhutia communities love to play this sport after the harvest, and would get together to enjoy this enchanting sports. During the time of Chogyal dynasty, the traditional form of archery was one of the major parts of event on both the religion and official functions. Archery was Sikkim’s national sport before the State was integrated in the Union of India and is played all over the Sikkim. The professional archery teams from the West Bengal (Darjeeling & Kalimpong) and the Kingdom of Bhutan, Nepal come to Sikkim and participate in top class tournaments in Royal Palace Ground, Gangtok, Aritar and other places of Sikkim. Even today, traditional archery tournaments are much popular than the modern archery in Sikkim.
Prestigious Tournaments in Archery
The prestigious tournaments of that time were Late Crown Prince Tenzing Kunzang Jigme Namgyal Memorial Tournament at Gangtok, Aritar Archery Tournament, Tendong Archery Tournament at Namchi, Mangan Losar Tournament, Kabi Archery Tournament, Losoong Archery Tournament, Tathangchen, and Rabongla Archery Tournament were the popular traditional competitions of that time.
Kunga Nima Lepcha, at present Minister, SYA, Wangchuk Bhutia of Tathangchen, Hangu Tshering Lepcha of Tathangchen, Tempo Gyatso of Aritar, Rhenock, Cho Ugyen Lama, Karma Chultim, Tika Ram Regmi of Upper Samdong, Ren Nezing Lepcha of Lingthem Busty, Dzongu, Sherab Bhutia of Shotak are some of veteran archers who were conferred Lifetime Achievement awards by the Sikkim Archery Association (SAA) in early 90s.
Dr. K B Gurung “Health 7” Archery Team was the winner of the Archery Tournament in Kabi, North Sikkim in 1995 led by Dr.Tseten Yamphal Bhutia. One of star archers was Minister, SYA, Kunga Nima Lepcha, Aritar Archery Tournament, Runner-up in Dikling Archery Tournament. His team had won the prestigious First Chief Minister’s Archery Tournament in 2000.
Birth of Sikkim Archery Association
The Sikkim Archery Association (SAA) was initially formed in the year 1985 by the late Sangay Tshering & Lendup Bhutia and Phigu Tshering. With an initiative of late Nari Tshering Bhutia of Aritar, Rhenock, Central Executive Body was formed on 5th November 1999 at White Memorial Hall, Gangtok. Former Minister Thinley Tshering (T.T. Bhutia) one of the veteran archers of his time was unanimously elected as the President of the SAA and was one of the most dynamic sports personalities of Sikkimese. His politeness, humble and helpful attitudes brought the Sikkim Archery Association into new height. Under his leadership, archers like Tarundeep Rai and Chungda Sherpa, and others are shining at international level. The association has been regularly organizing the tournaments both in the tradition and modern categories, National Level Tournaments and sending the team from the State to participate in National level Tournaments.
Achievements of Tarundeep Rai in Archery
Born on 22nd February to Dil Bahadur Rai and Meena Kumari Rai of Namchi (Purano Bazaar) in South Sikkim, three times Olympian Tarundeep Rai was a good sportsman since his school life. His destination to become a renowned sports athlete in the field of archery came into a reality when he was selected for the Army Boys’ Sports at Shillong (Meghalaya) in 1997 and trained for up to 2001. He joined Indian Army at the age of 17 years in 2001.
Tarundeep Rai was the first Indian Archer who won a silver medal in 16th Asian Games held at Guangzhou, China in 2010. In his professional archery career, Tarundeep has participated the World Championships, Commonwealth Game and Asian Games. He was a member of Indian Archery Team for Tokyo Olympics Games – 2021. His achievements in the field of Archery at National and International level brought the glory to the name of Sikkim and India. He has been awarded with the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2005 and Padma Shri in 2020 by the Government of India and Sikkim Khel Ratna in 2012 by the Sikkim Government for his contributions towards the country in sports. He has been also received prestigious military awards for his outstanding performance and contribution to the nation in Archery such as Vishist Seva Medal in 2005, COAS consecutively from 2009 to 2013, GOC-IN-C in 2016 and VCOAS in 2020 from the Army.
While expressing his gratitude to the State government, archer Tarundeep Rai stated, “To have the academy in my name is personal happiness but the main objective is the future generations of sportspersons in Sikkim. There is no personal motive behind it being named after me. I have been an archer for 25 years now; it’s in my blood now. The medal which I have won in the past, in the same way, others can also win those medals”.
Chungda Sherpa and Others
Before the Tarundeep Rai and Chungda Sherpa, Sikkim had produced many National level archers. Chungda Sherpa is an Indian International archer from Sikkim who won a Bronze medal in team even at 10th Asian Archery Championship in year 1997 and again won Silver medal in team event for the Country in the 2nd Commonwealth Archery Championship held in 2006.
It was another proud moment for Chungda to win a Gold medal in the Asian Grand prix for the country in 2009 and another Silver medal in Commonwealth Games Test Event in 2010. He got big inspiration to learn the archery when he was selected for Boys’ Sports Company at Shillong in 1992.
Jigme Youzer Lepcha and Thupden Atuk Rongkup was the star archers of early 80s who had represented India in 1980’s Junior World Championship and other International Tournaments of their time. At present, they are serving as Archery Coaches in the Sport & Youth Affairs Department, Government of Sikkim.
Dr. Ongden Gyatso, Dr. Passang D. Phempu, Jigme Dorjee Denjongpa, Rapden Pintso Kazi and Karma Lodey Namgyal are some of the well-known archers who had participated in the Senior National Archery Championship and some of them have won the medals at North East Games in mid 90s.
The State government has already established the two football academies at Namchi and Gangtok under the “Search for more Bhaichung”, and under this scheme, Sikkim has produced star footballers like Nirmal Chettri, Sanju Pradhan, Bikash Jairu, Komal Thatal and many more who had represented the country at prestigious international football tournaments.
The State Sports Academy for Girls at Soreng, West Sikkim is running since 2019, and it is registered to the Law department. The birth of Girls’ Football Academy at Soreng is an output of Mangalbaria Girls Football Academy which had produced women footballers like Lako Phuti Bhutia and Nima Lamu. The former represented India in many prestigious women football tournaments.
While establishing the Tarundeep Rai Archery Academy, the present Government under visionary leadership of Chief Minister P.S. Tamang (Golay) is geared towards enhancing the community involvement and engagement for our younger generation towards the archery sports for their future perspective.
In order to achieve the vision of the Chief Minister, the government must constitute the high level committee to frame the vision documentation on Tarundeep Rai Archery Academy. The mission objective of the academy will be fulfilled when we focus on the mechanism of qualitative process in terms of human resources, infrastructures and with sufficient budget provision. The location of the academy must be feasible with the climate, transportation, health and educational facilities. The academy must be supported with the latest scientific facilities in terms of training, coaching, and competitions. The registration of the academy with constructive guidelines is must to invite the public participation with donation to run the academy at top level. The academy must be open for outsiders on payment basis. Site planning for construction of the academy including building, campus, arena (field), recreation hall, fitness centre, physiotherapy centre, reading room etc. must be as per International level.
(The author is Joint Director, SYA)