Archer Pravin Jadhav aims to make it big in Tokyo
Indian archer Pravin Jadhav had two choices to make as a young boy, join his father as a wage laborer or run on the track for a better living. Never in his dream, he had thought of representing India in the Olympics and that too in a sport alien to him. Here is more about the archer representing India in Tokyo.
Jadhav's journey has been full of hardships
About 10 years down the line, the Sarade village boy from Maharashtra's Satara district has progressed enough to be one of the medal prospects for India in archery at the Tokyo Games. But his journey has been full of hardships. He almost joined his father as a daily wage laborer before things changed for the better for the Jadhav family.
Family told me to drop out in class seven: Jadhav
Struggling to make ends meet, his father had told him that he has to drop out after class seven and join him at the construction site, where he himself worked. "Our condition was really bad then. My family had already told me to drop out in class seven and join my father on the construction site," Jadhav recalled in an interaction.
Jadhav's sports teacher found some promise in him
One fine day, Jadhav's sports teacher at his Zilla Parishad School in Sarade, Vikas Bhujbal, found some promise in Jadhav. "Bhujbal sir told me to start running and compete in athletics," Jadhav said. "Bhujbal sir said, 'At least you would get to earn a better living and won't have to go for a daily wage,' so I started running 400-800 meters," Jadhav added.
Archery accidentally came his way in Ahmednagar
Archery came his way by accident at the Krida Prabodhini hostel in Ahmednagar when he was selected for the sport during a drill when he threw 10 out of 10 balls in a ring from a 10-meter distance. He has not looked back since then and his family is also no longer grappling with poverty.
He won his first-ever international medal in 2016
He was sent to Krida Prabodhini in Amravati before being picked by the Army Sports Institute in Pune from where he had a meteoric rise, winning his first-ever international medal, team bronze at the 2016 Asia Cup Stage One in Bangkok.
I learned the sport from Sunil Thakre sir: Jadhav
"I learned the sport from Sunil Thakre Sir at Amravati and then Praful Dange Sir continued with me before I joined the Army," Jadhav said. "I'm also blessed to have our association secretary Pramod Chandurkar sir behind me. He has been a constant support and guidance. Things are much better with my family now," he said.
Jadhav remains calm, composed, and unnerved: Chief Coach
Talking about Jadhav, India chief coach Min Bahadur Gurung said, "He has got a lot of potential. His biggest quality is that he remains calm, composed, and unnerved irrespective of the situation, the biggest quality for an archer." "He's gifted and is a strict disciplinarian, something that impressed us but he needs to be consistent," said the former Army and India coach Ravi Shankar.
Jadhav feels fully prepared to deal with the Olympic pressure
As he prepares for the big day in Tokyo, Jadhav feels fully prepared to deal with the Olympic pressure as it would be his maiden appearance. "There will be pressure on everyone. I'll concentrate only on shooting well and contribute to the team," he concluded.