When Mohit won a silver in the compound men’s category at the 40th NTPC National Archery Championship, his coach Deepak Malik stood beaming behind him, clinging on to the scope with which he had tracked the target.
Coach Malik was a bundle of activities during the championship, cheering on his trainees, talking to them, and keeping them calm during breaks.
“My children are making me proud,” said Malik, who runs Navyug Archery Academy at Rohtak in Haryana with his brother. He has trained youngsters for national and international events.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, sporting activities took a beating. Archery training centres faced the challenge of not being able to call athletes to the ground for training.
“During the first wave, people were scared and a lot of deaths were happening, too. We have children from several villages, so we sent two to three targets to each village on tractors,” said Malik. “Most of our archers come from farming families, so they practiced in their fields with the targets we sent them. I used to go to one village a day (to check on the training).”
After the lockdown, when the Indian compound team won the gold medal at the World Archery Youth Championship in Wroclaw, Poland, Malik’s students were among India’s stars on the podium.
“Our students Kushal Dalal, Tamanna, and Vickey got us three gold medals and a bronze in Poland,” he said.
On October 9, Jashandeep, a Haryana archer on the recurve team, won the gold medal at the national championship. Jashandeep also trains at Malik’s academy.
Malik (center) with his academy’s trainees, Jashandeep (left) and Mohit, who won the Gold and Silver medal respectively at the National Championship – SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT
The Malik family has a long association with sports. His father was a national-level basketball player. Malik played cricket and basketball before transitioning to archery coaching.
He is looking forward to bigger tournaments and has long-term objectives. “We have children aged 15 to 16 years old. My main target will be the 2023 World Championships. I am also hoping for miracles at the 2024 Olympics,” he said.