For many, archery might be just another sport, but for Pragati is the discipline that saved her life. Having suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2020, Pragati became distraught with the perspective of not being able to compete in her favorite sport.
Unable to get up from bed for months, the Indian had to undergo two neurosurgeries and rehabilitation to compete again. However, Pragati’s worry faded away as she won the junior national championship in 2021. The 22 year old from Guru Kashi University has been climbing heights ever since.
The final chapter of Pragati’s astonishing comeback took place on Sunday when partnering with Aman Saini in the mixed-team compound event where she won the gold medal at the Chengdu FISU Games.
“Aman continuously told me to hit only tens. We were planning on hitting all on target, but we both missed one each where I shot an eight, and he shot a nine. That is where we fell behind a bit.”
Following his partner’s thoughts, Aman shares his relief: “I’m happy that it’s gold. Getting one medal is nice, but more than one is always better, and the gold medal is a league of its own. It’s also my first mixed team gold medal at the international level”.
It wasn’t the only achievement of the day for the Indian team.
Just before winning the gold, Pragati, along with Avneet Kaur and Purvasha Sindhe, collected a silver medal after losing a well fought battle to Korea (224-229) in the women’s compound.
With Sangampreet Singh and Rishabh Yadav, Aman also conquered the men’s team compound bronze medal, defeating Korea 229-226. The Chinese team won gold by beating France in the same event.
In the recurve team event, one the clear favorite, South Korean archer Lee Gahyun, was beaten twice in the women’s and mixed category, by China and Japan respectively.
“I’m not satisfied with my performance at all, it’s a shame that I didn’t utilize my fullest potential. I will continue to work hard, and I will consider this as a stepping stone to continue working hard,” said the 23-year-old.
With her partner Seo Mingi, Lee has high hopes for the next Olympics in Paris, but she will have to make some adjustment to her preparation.
China’s Lin Xinxin and her teammate Zhou Dayan claimed the gold medal at the expense of the Koreans while reflecting on their lives as athletes and students.
“I believe training and studies for us are complementary. When I feel tired from my studies, I train so the two complete each other,” said Dayan.
Agreeing with her teammate, Xinxin claims, “We are veteran archers with over 10 years of experience, so we know how to manage the two. We do engage in campus activities and training programs provided by the university, but our usual schedule is ‘sleep, eat and train”.
Written by Netra. V, FISU Young Reporter