NEW DELHI — Akash Malik, who made history after clinching India's first silver in archery at the Youth Olympics in 2018, said he is sure that the Indian archery contingent will win a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
"I am sure the Indian archery contingent will win a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The players for the team will be selected through trials, which will be held early in 2020," Malik said.
He added that the third edition of the Khelo India Youth Games, beginning Jan. 10 to 22, will serve as good preparation for the Indian archery Olympic team trials.
The archer, who hails from Hisar (Haryana), has won gold (men's team event) at the Asia Cup Stage-I, silver (mixed team event) and bronze (men's team event) in the Asia Cup Stage-II in 2018. Malik expressed that he had a great experience while participating in the first edition of the Khelo India Games in 2018.
"I won bronze in the first edition of the Khelo India Games. I had a great time at the tournament. The competition is a great platform for the youth to learn different skills. The athletes get a lot of confidence while playing in the Khelo India Games environment," said Malik.
The 17-year-old, who is a farm laborer's son, developed an interest in archery after watching his friends practice the sport in 2016.
"I took up archery in 2016. I saw my friends practice archery in Hisar and then gradually I developed an interest in the sport," said Malik.
The archer faced financial difficulties in acquiring equipment at the beginning of his career. However, the Olympic Gold Quest spotted Malik in 2017 and, thereafter, the organization has been providing equipment to the young archer.
"Initially, I faced financial difficulties to acquire equipment because archery is an expensive sport. As I progressed in my career, I received financial assistance from Sports Authority of India, Khelo India Games and the Olympic Gold Quest. I had gone for the Asian Championships trials in 2017 and that's where I was spotted by the Olympic Gold Quest. Thereafter, the organization started providing archery equipment to me," said Malik.