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Following Covid restrictions, this Paralympic archery medal-winning son of Haryana farmer practised in his fields

Karam Prakash

Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 4

The 30-year-old Harvinder Singh, who created history by winning a bronze medal in archery at the Tokyo Paralympics, had trained for the mega event in his farm fields.

After the Covid pandemic disrupted the routine sports activity, Harvinder, the son of a farmer, turned his field into a practice field. The ace archer, who took up archery in 2012 after watching the event at the London Olympics, said he practised for nearly six months in his fields before heading to Tokyo.

Harvinder Singh practising in his fields.

Talking to The Tribune over phone, Harvinder said, “Like other sportspersons, my training was also affected due to the lockdown in March last year. After a few days, I asked my father to prepare a training ground in the field. After harvesting the wheat in April last year, I started training in the fields.”

Heartiest congratulations to @ArcherHarvinder for scripting history by bagging India’s first-ever medal in para archery. Your bronze win in Tokyo’s Paralympics will inspire many more to take up the sport. Country is proud of you Beta! 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/8hZsakuLPk

— Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) September 4, 2021

Harvinder said he joined the national camp at Sonepat in October 2020. However, the training was again affected due to the second Covid wave. Harvinder came back home at Ajitnagar in Kaithal district of Haryana and again started training in his fields.

The bronze medallist said he had trained for over a month at the national camp before heading to Tokyo Paralympics.

Talking about his initial days, he said he was first trained by coach Jiwanjot Singh at Punjabi University, Patiala. “After watching archery at the London Olympics on TV, I decided to pursue the game. I went to the archery ground in the university where Jiwanjot sir, who is also my mentor, started my training.”

Harvinder said the initial few years in his sporting career were tough as he could not excel in his event. “I had left archery in 2015. After a month, my coach Jiwanjot again motivated me and changed my event from compound to recurve. This changed my life. In a year, I won a medal at the national level and haven’t looked back since.”

His coach Jiwanjot said Harvinder balanced academics and sports well. “He is currently pursuing a PhD from Punjabi University. Along with government support, Punjabi University supported the medallist, including with his costly equipment.”

Singh said he was also trained by Gaurav Sharma, who is currently the archery coach at Punjabi University.

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