13-year-old Naga girl Nikesa Sakhrie Credit: Facebook

Guwahati: A 13-year-old Naga girl residing in Puducherry — Nikesa Sakhrie — is well on her way to represent India at the World Archery Youth Championships to be held in Madrid, Spain.

A Class VIII student of The Study-L’école Internationale in Puducherry, Nikesa will participate in the event, along with four others from the country, from August 19 to 25.

Nikesa took up archery in 2016, when she was studying in Class VI as an after-school activity. Although her initial inclination was to pursue piano classes as an extracurricular activity, her parents encouraged her to take up something unique like archery after she showed some interest in the sport.

Nikesa loved experimenting and learning new things and her father noticed her gift in shooting at an early stage when she would mess with her brother’s toy gun and beat them all in target shooting. “She even broke a new flat screen TV target shooting with a pellet gun,” says Ketusilie Sakhrie, her father.

Nikesa has always been a sports fan as her father said that during the annual camps, she loved to participate in all the games.

When asked about how she is able to find the balance between training and academics, her father says, “At the school she attends, the principal and her colleagues were very encouraging. They enabled her to attend her archery training camp for a good 9-10 months and then go back to school and study and appear her exams like the rest of the students in the remaining two-three months of the academic year.”

“Her coach, Kuldeep Kumar Vedwan, also encouraged us to place her under his care and promised to take very good care of her. All these things led her to taking up archery as a sporting activity,” says Ketusilie.

According to her father, Nikesa’s coach even offered to prepare her for free training outside school after she picked archery as a co-curricular activity. After that, her folks enrolled her full-time at the archery institute run by Archery Association of Jammu & Kashmir in Katra, Jammu & Kashmir.

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“Her head and instructors are continuously reassuring her to seek out her dreams and they have helped her a lot,” says Ketusilie, a pastor at the Naga Christian Fellowship (NCF) in Puducherry.

Ketusilie is thankful for the opportunities that he got for his daughter which might not have otherwise been possible had they been in their home state, Nagaland.

Earlier, Nikesa won a gold medal at the Sphoorti Mayor Cup and two silver medals at the mini-sub-junior nationals. She was also a participant of Khelo India, Senior Archery Nationals and South Asian Cup trials.

When asked of Nikesa’s future prospects, her father says, “We would love to see her excel and shine in whatever she has put her mind to do. Right now, a realistic goal would be for her to do well in Madrid, Spain and maybe, God willing, ultimately make it to the Olympics.”

It must also be mentioned that pro-shooter Abhinav Bindra was picked as an “independent person” in a selection panel which chose the Indian team for the World Youth Championship in Madrid.

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