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A 14-year-old emerges as the Archery champion at the inaugural Iron Target Challenge


Punekars from all walks of life participated in the Iron Target Challenge – India’s first public Archery competition held in the city from 13th to 27th January 2019.


Over 500 Punekars took part in the Iron Target Challenge – India’s first public Archery competition held between 13th to 27th January across 3 different locations in Pune. Participants got a chance to try their hand at an Archery competition, many for the first time. The Grand Finale of the tournament took place at Phoenix Marketcity, and the winner, 14-year-old Raghavendra Gaikwad, went home with a car. It was a simple thought that manifested into a grand tournament, by Sanand Mitra – an international archer, national record holder and national gold medalist who conceptualized and single-handedly managed the entire tournament.

Overwhelmed with the participation in the tournament’s first attempt in Pune, Sanand believes that this is just the beginning of a revolution where commoners will be open to trying out atypical sports. “Archery is not a mainstream sport. I want to take Archery to the masses just like Kabaddi, Badminton and Football are placed in India today. I want the common man to pick up a bow and go and have fun with Archery, and I hope we were able to do that in Pune. The Punekars have shown immense support and interest and have to make this initiative a success!” said Sanand Mitra.

14-year-old Raghavendra Gaikwad  who won the car

He adds, ‘’To make the sport all inclusive, without the boundaries of space, equipment, unreachability, my vision is to see the participants’ eyes shine with joy when they target. That is my moment of victory. With competitions like the Iron Target Challenge, I intend on giving an international grade bow in the hands of a novice and watch him explore his inner Arjuna & shoot to win. With this, I plan to make over a million people experience Archery in the next three years.”

This is for the first time that people from diverse backgrounds came together to try their hand at a sport which is not that popular in the country. “I have come all the way from Indapur, and this was the third Archery match of my life. I can’t believe that I won a car. I would like to dedicate this victory to my parents and my coach, they pushed me to participate in this tournament. They are extremely proud of me. While I want to become an engineer when I grow up, I will definitely continue practising Archery – especially after this match,” said Raghavendra. While this 14-year old went home with the car, a 68-year old grandfather, Mr. Percy Dubash won the second prize – a geared bike at the Iron Target Challenge.

Credit : #creatorcreationproduction

The format of the tournament was spread across a month, where zonal tournaments took place on three Sundays in areas such as Pimple Saudagar, Parvati and Viman Nagar. Top 10 qualifiers from every zone and 10 wild card entries competed against each other at the Grand Finale held at Phoenix Marketcity. About 100 participants went home with exciting prizes earned at the tournament, by simply shooting an arrow at the target.

After the success of the Iron Target Challenge in Pune, the property now plans to expand into recreational Archery centres that will be set up across the city. The tournament also plans to travel to cities like Hyderabad and Ahmedabad this year. With this tournament format, Sanand aims at instigating the popularity of Archery in the country by making it more accessible to the common man.

Percy Dubash who also won the car

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