Archery has been a lifelong passion for Pooja Jatyan. And to pursue her passion, Jatyan returned from a four-year sabbatical.
It was a triumphant return as she won her first international medal – a silver at the World Archery Para Championships in Dubai.
Jatyan became the first Indian para-archer to win an individual medal at a World Championships.
She lost to Italy’s Petrilli Vincenza in the women’s recurve open final 7-3.
“I tried many things – studies, business – but archery is above all. This is something I cannot leave behind. My life would be incomplete without Archery. So, I decided to return to the sport and follow my dream, ”Pooja Jatyan told the Paralympic Committee of India.
However, Pooja’s ride on returning to the sport was not an easy one. Braving hardships and overcoming disappointments, she made sure to leave no stone unturned to realize her dream.
“After returning to the sport in 2018, I lost many medals by narrow margins and didn’t get selected in various championships. It pinched me a lot. I wasn’t ready to take that result so I worked hard to get here today. And I worked really hard for the Dubai 2022 Championships. And after the silver, I want to win the gold, ”Jatyan added.
Affected by polio at an early age and with no knowledge of para-archery, Pooja competed in the abled-body category after taking up the sport in 2011.
“I took part in abled-body competitions, including the Nationals, and even won medals there. I didn’t know about para-archery then. But I had to take a break from it after I got married, ”she said.
Pooja Jatyan inspired by Harvinder Singh
The World Championship in Dubai was Pooja’s third major championship after the Indonesia 2018 Asian Para Games and the Hertogenbosch 2019 World Championships.
Also read: Tiaxcala in Mexico to host Archery World Cup Final
She also started training with her current coach Surender Singh Randhawa at Punjab University in Patiala.
“Harry (Harvinder Singh) bhaiya’s gold at the Indonesia 2018 Games was a big inspiration for me. I wanted to win medals for my country but I wasn’t good enough then and I promised myself then that I was going to win medals for my country. My coach always tells me that ‘hard work pays off’. So, my only objective was to work hard to win medals, ”Pooja explained.
Pooja Jatyan is eyeing a gold medal at the Asian Para Games and hopes to motivate more para-athletes to take up the sport.
“I hope my medal motivates more girls to take up para archery. Returning to the sport was a big decision but my family, especially my husband and my mother-in-law, supported me a lot. It’s kind of rare and I feel I “I’m lucky to have them by my side. They are very proud of me,” she concluded.
The para-archer is currently pursuing a Masters degree in Commerce from Khalsa College, Punjab University.