Archer Bishal Changmai confident of podium finish in 4th Khelo India Youth Games
Assam archer Bishal Changmai

Guwahati: Not long ago, when Santanu Changmai enrolled his twin sons Bishal and Bikram at a swimming academy in the Golaghat district, little did he know that one of them would end up as an archer, one day.

Miffed with Bikram’s success as a swimmer at junior-level events, Bishal decided to push himself into uncharted territories and took up archery. After initial hardships, Bishal picked up the pace and became the first from India to win two gold medals at a Youth World Championship.

“When I started off my sporting career, swimming was my favourite sport. I participated in local competitions regularly. My twin brother (Bikram) also used to take part in the competitions and he always used to finish ahead of me. I wasn’t happy with my progress until one day when I decided to take up archery,” Bishal had earlier said.

Describing his journey into the new sport, Bishal said, “An archery camp was held in the Bokakhat area and despite little knowledge about the sport, I went for the experience and to get a feel of the camp. I was fascinated by the sport and urged my parents to enrol me into the archery programme as I had already decided to quit swimming.”

“I used to watch archery competitions every single day back when I was in Golaghat. Following that, I urged my parents to get me into sports and they helped me. From district-level competitions, I moved to the SAI centre in Guwahati in 2016 before moving to the Army Sports Institute (ASI) in Pune in 2017,” he added.

Since then, there was no looking back for the archer. Bishal was a part of the Indian team that won three medals at the Youth World Championships 2021 in Wroclaw. In the process, the U18 Cadet Recurve archer also became the first Indian to win two gold medals at any Youth World Championship with three medals, including one bronze.

The rising archer has participated in all editions of the Khelo India Youth Games so far: Pune, Guwahati and Panchkula, but is yet to clinch a medal from the tournament. Changmai, however, hopes to win one this time, as he claims to have taken a cue from previous experiences.

Determined to make his presence felt in what will be his fourth appearance at the Khelo India Youth Games in Bhopal, Changmai, representing Maharashtra, wants to live up to the billing that his adopted state has earned across all four editions of the tournament.

“I have learnt a lot from the previous competitions and have put in a lot of hard work to prepare for the games this year. Hopefully, I will get the medal,” the 18-year-old said.

The archery competitions at the Khelo India Youth Games 2022 are underway at the Ranital Sports Complex in Jabalpur and will conclude on February 3.

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