Archer optimistic of Olympics berth

Dilhara worried over absence of comradeship among top archers


By Reemus Fernando

Dilhara Salgado is confident that world class training she has received at the World Archery Centre in Bangkok, Thailand will help her qualify for the London Olympics when she competes at the final Olympics Qualifying Archery championship in Ogden, USA.

"Thanks to International Olympics Committee scholarship I had the access to best of facilities and qualified coaches in Thailand. I have improved under the supervision of quality coaches. I am confident that this training would help me to book my Olympics spot," said Salgado in an interview with The Island on the eve of her departure to USA yesterday.

"I reached Asian Archery Championship quarter finals last year. That was the highest a Sri Lanka has gone so far. That was after I received the Olympics scholarship. I received training in Thailand after that. I think I am in good shape to win the Olympics place for the country in USA," said the archer from Colombo Archery School.

While admitting the absence of a manager and other back up staff would have a negative impact on the team, she insisted on having their services to reach heights. "When you have back up staff like coach, physio and manager you can produce your best. Here, we don’t get the support of those during foreign championships. That is an area that has to be addressed if we are to improve in this discipline," opined Salgado.

However, more than the absence of back up staff what worries Salgado most is the serious lack of comradeship among the country’s top archers as of late. "This was not so a couple of years ago. I think it all started in late 2010. I am reluctantly compelled to avoid going to the BMICH (where most of the national archers train) on my return from Thailand because I don’t see the comradeship which was once there. National archers can’t see eye to eye," said the former Air Force archer. Asked as to who is responsible for the situation and what had weakened the friendship Salgado said that she could not point out.

"I experienced friendship among archers from different countries like Iraq, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Mongolia and Rumania in Thailand. It is easy to work when there is friendship," she said.

"I want to thank God for helping me. I also thank Premal (Mendis) uncle, Kushil (Gunasekara) uncle, Joshua and Fr. Chandana and my family members for supporting me," said the alumni of Methodist College, Colombo. She also thanked the Archery Association, NOC and INOC for the support.

Salgado was first coached by Kesara Serasinghe before she came under the guidance of Muditha Thotagamuwa. She said she was coached by Kim Sun Bin, a Korean coach whom she referred to as a truly qualified professional. She wished the country’s top archers could get the service of such a coach.

Salgado is the last of the four Sri Lankan archers who left for USA to take part in the Olympics Qualifying Championship.

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