GUWAHATI, July 17 � Ace archer Jayanta Talukdar is preparing hard to accomplish what he believes is the ultimate glory for any sportsperson - winning the Olympic gold.
Since he is just the third Olympian from Assam, he will naturally be carrying a very heavy burden of expectations but at the same time Jayanta thinks that the expectations could actually be the much-needed motivation for him to put in that extra effort in his quest for the ultimate.
�When I qualified for the individual archery event for the London Olympics, I was ecstatic. I felt I was halfway into realizing my dream of winning an Olympic medal. With the overwhelming enthusiasm of the people backing me, I believe I can accomplish the rest 50 per cent as well,� Jayanta told mediapersons at the 'Meet the Press' held at Guwahati Press Club this evening.
Jayanta was felicitated by the Assam Sports Journalists Association on the occasion.
Jayanta, who has been training for eight-nine hours a day under the watchful eyes of his Korean coach, foresees a tough challenge from competitors from China, Korea, the USA, Italy and Chinese Taipei.
�It will be a tough draw but I am confident of putting up my best show�I have also gained the required experience in the international arena and that should serve me in good stead in the Olympics even though it will be first Games,� he asserted.
According to Jayanta who had three training stints in South Korea in the recent past, training outside provides a lot of exposure to an archer and helps in honing the finer points.
�My training stints in Korea have helped me immensely, and I feel I improved each time after visiting Korea,� he said.
Jayanta believes that like in any other discipline, performing at the highest level in archery has a lot to do with mind. �For me it is fifty per cent about technique and physical fitness, and 50 per cent about the mental state. Along with training, I have been concentrating equally on gaining better control over my mind through meditations and sessions with sports psychologists,� he said.
Going down memory lane, Jayanta said that the year 2000 was the turning point in his life as he got selected for the Tata Archery Academy, Jamshedpur.
�Till then I used to be quite laidback and was taking things easily. But the disciplined rigour at the academy changed me and I started to focus on higher goals while training single-mindedly. My parents too egged me on, saying that I must grab the chance that came my way,� he said.
Jayanta became the junior national champion in 2003 but fared well below expectations at his first oversees event - the France Grand Prix in 2003.
�The French tour was significant being my initiation into the international arena. I was clearly overawed by the physique and poise of the foreign athletes but also learnt a lot and was determined to keep myself pushing to the top. This paid dividends and I got the silver in the Junior World Cup the next year,� he said.
Acknowledging the poor sports infrastructure in the State, Jayanta, however, believes that notwithstanding constraints, the sportsperson must keep working harder and harder. �There is no short-cut to success. We have limited facilities in Assam and therefore the aspiring achiever needs to toil even harder so that the Government and the corporate sector take notice and help in his or her pursuit of excellence,� he said.
While his coaches, seniors and colleagues have been a constant source of inspiration, Jayanta said watching cricket star Sachin Tendulkar had also been motivating. �The way Tendulkar has kept going at the highest level for so long a time is amazing, and can inspire any budding sportsperson,� he said.
(See also Page 14)