Empowered by TOPS, archer Mrinal Chauhan overcomes financial hurdles, wins silver at KIUG 2023

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Guwahati, Feb 26, 2024: Lovely Professional University’s Mrinal Chauhan clinched the Recurve men silver medal in his maiden appearance at the Khelo India University Games (KIUG) Ashtalakshmi 2023, marking a significant milestone in an arduous journey that receive a boost thanks to the transformative power of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS).

Born into a humble family where his father manages a stationery shop and mother is a homemaker, Chauhan’s early struggles were intensified by the high costs associated with archery equipment. But timely support through the TOP Scheme, a flagship initiative by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports (MYAS) to support athletes across the nation, not only liberated the 20-year-old from financial burden but also allowed him to channel his energy solely towards honing his skills at the esteemed Tata Archery Academy in Jamshedpur.

“TOPS has lifted our financial burden and it has allowed me to dream bigger, aim higher, and believe that nothing is impossible. Now, I don’t have to dependent on my father for my financial needs as I get stipend every month.

“Moreover, the provision of quality equipment and the freedom to practice anywhere, courtesy of this exceptional scheme, enables me to dedicate myself entirely to enhancing my skills as an athlete,” Chauhan said.

In the last few years, Chauhan bagged a bronze medal in the Archery World Cup in Colombia and participated in Archery World Cup in Paris and World Archery Championships in Berlin. He was also the fourth member of the Indian recurve team, which secured silver in the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games.

In his maiden KIUG appearance, Chauhan not only aimed to prove his mettle but also viewed the competition as vital preparation for the upcoming trials leading to the Paris Olympics qualification events.

“In my debut at the KIUG, I arrived with the intent to push my limits and gauge my capabilities. I was well aware that participating in archery in Shillong would be a formidable challenge, given the city’s unpredictable and windy weather conditions. Additionally, the event served as a valuable practice ground for me, offering a crucial opportunity to refine my skills in preparation for the upcoming trials,” added the 20-year-old, whose ultimate aim is to win a medal for India at the Olympics and booking a Paris Games berth is his current focus.

Reflecting on his experience at KIUG, he said, “The overall organisation of the event was nothing short of brilliant, providing athletes with exceptional facilities that truly underscored the commitment to fostering sporting excellence.”

About Khelo India University Games:

The Khelo India University Games is a multi-discipline sports event aimed at promoting sports and fitness among university students in India. Ideated by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, it provides a platform for young athletes to showcase their talent and compete at the national level

The Khelo India University Games – Ashtalakshmi 2023 will feature an array of sporting disciplines including Athletics, Rugby, Basketball, Volleyball, Swimming, Badminton, Hockey, Fencing, Kabaddi, Football, Tennis, Mallakhamb, Judo, Table Tennis, Boxing, Shooting, Weightlifting, Archery, Wrestling, and Yogasana, the event embodies the essence of unity in diversity.

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