Gangtok: “I still want to be Arjun,” said Sikkim archer Tarundeep Rai, who represented India at the Tokyo Olympic Games this year.

Tokyo 2020 was Rai’s third unsuccessful attempt at the Olympics, having participated earlier in Athens 2004 and London 2012.

Upon his return to Sikkim, where he was accorded a grand welcome by the Sikkim Olympics Association and the state sports department, Rai put all speculations about his retirement to rest, considering he’s 38 years old now.

Sikkim’s lone Olympian Tarundeep Rai being given a warm welcome upon his return from Tokyo on Saturday

“I still want to be Arjun and I am eyeing the Olympics in 2024. I am sure that in the next Olympics in Paris (2024), we will win medals,” he said.

Rai, however, felt that hunting for medals will create unnecessary pressure on the archers. “If I will be there in the team, we will deliver our best performance, which I hope will convert into a medal. I have many plans for the state and for myself. I will share those details later,” he added.

Rai also thanked the people of the country for their support in the Olympic Games. “On behalf of the entire Indian archery team, I would like to offer my thanks for supporting us,” he said, adding: “However, I’d like apologise to the entire 1.3 billion people of the country for not being able to bring a medal.”

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The Sikkimese archer, however, felt that 2021 was by far the best year for Indian archery. “Deepika [Kumari] reached the quarterfinals, our men’s team reached the quarterfinals, Atanu Das reached the pre quarters. To me, that’s a great achievement. The only thing is that we couldn’t win a medal,” he said.

Rai was accorded a warm welcome by Sikkim Olympics Association president Kuber Bhandari and Jacob Khaling, political secretary to the chief minister of Sikkim, who both spoke elaborately about Rai, the development of the sport in the state and its future.



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