Jyothi Surekha Vennam, archery ace, rues Olympics glory may never be

Asian Games champion from Andhra Pradesh struck a hat-trick of gold in the World Cup in Shanghai

Jyothi Surekha Vennam, India's compound archery star, expresses disappointment over the absence of a compound category in the Olympics (photo: SAI)
Jyothi Surekha Vennam, India's compound archery star, expresses disappointment over the absence of a compound category in the Olympics (photo: SAI)

NH Sports Bureau

Jyothi Surekha Vennam, India’s ace in compound archery was at the forefront of the team reaping a shock golden harvest at the Archery World Cup Stage 1 in Shanghai last weekend.

But she has one big regret — her category is not on the Olympics list.

It’s only recurve archery that is part of Summer Olympic Games. The compound category is yet to get the nod, despite there being a strong case for it.

“We all feel compound archery should be in the Olympics because we have a big chance. We waited with bated breath last year when it was being discussed whether it could be included in the 2028 Olympics.

"Unfortunately, it didn’t happen,’’ says the 27-year-old Andhra archer, who put up a stellar show in the last Asian Games and has bagged every conceivable medal her sport has to offer.  

Speaking to SAI media after a golden hat-trick on Saturday, 27 April, by the women’s compound team, mixed compound team and individual compound categories, Jyothi said: “For me personally, at the back of my head, I know that the Olympics is the biggest thing in the world of sport and winning a medal there will add further glory to my career. But I would say that I’m content to have won medals in all international competitions possible in compound archery.

“I’m happy for the entire compound team, which bagged four golds and one silver,’’ said Jyothi, who has been breaking records ever since she started competing in the global arena in 2011.

An Arjuna awardee and B.Tech graduate, Jyothi also holds a Khelo India scholarship.

She recently rooted for senior Deepika Kumari, who hopes to make the cut for her fourth Olympics in Paris. “I’m really hoping the recurve archers get the medal this time at the Olympics," said Jyothi.

"So far, we have got only one quota [bagged by Dhiraj Bommadevara in the men’s recurve event]; but there are more qualifiers coming up for Paris 2024,” she added on India's archery promise at the Olympics.

Speaking about Deepika Kumari’s chances, Jyothi said: “Deepika-di has always been a good archer and has a lot of achievements. To be back in the team representing India and reaching the top four in the ongoing World Cup is really great. I’m sure she will do really well as long as she keeps playing the sport.” Now on a comeback trail after motherhood, Deepika won the individual silver in Shanghai.

Historically, our archers have been often found wanting in the Olympics arena, betraying their mental frailties in high-pressure situations. The Shanghai performance does seem to reflect a clear improvement in India’s mental conditioning and preparation for global events.

“When you perform well and get the results, the confidence build-up happens naturally and mentally you become stronger," says Jypthi. "It reflects the way you are. And we are in this state now. We are putting in consistent hard work even beyond winning medals.”

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