The Archery Association of Tamil Nadu (TAAT)

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MISSION: Project AMMA (All-out Medal Mission in Archery)

TAAT

THE ARCHERY ASSOCIATION OF TAMIL NADU

"The official state body of Tamil Nadu Archery!"


History of Archery in Tamil Nadu

Development of the Sports of Archery in Tamil Nadu

The art of Archery most pivotal for hunting and survival of mankind in the early days turned into a weapon of mass killing during battles and wars till guns, artillery and modern devices of mass destruction were invented.

It was then that efforts were made to turn this art into a sport.

Modern Archery in the sports form was first introduced in 1900 at Paris Olympics. After a break of 52 years from 1920 it resumed again in 1972 at Munich.

The first Archery Nationals in INDIA took place at New Delhi the next year, organized by the Archery Association of India - AAI in 1973. It took 39 long years for the first ever Archery nationals to be hosted by the southern state of Tamil Nadu, in the year 2012 jointly by the HU Archery Mission and The Archery Association of Tamil Nadu - TAAT.

High cost of equipments, total lack of infrastructure and a dedicated field, complete absence of modern Archery coaches and a strong leadership to promote the sport, zero support from the State Govt and usual sports politics contributed to the very late start.

Prof SAQ Hussaini, a noted historian, author and martial artist from Madurai in Tamil Nadu who taught at the Calcutta university till his death in 1966 was from a lineage of equestrian Archers whose forefathers were instructors for the armies of the Pandya kings. He was an excellent traditional Archer with the bamboo bow and arrow and taught Archery to his history students regularly at the 'New park' in Calcutta. Basha, an uneducated lad from Khazimahallah, Madurai who maintained horses was his ardent student and is known to be the last ever serious Archer from Madurai to practise traditional Archery hunting on the banks of Vaigai river known as a rich breeding ground for storks. The Khazis are thus known to be the last practitioners of traditional Archery in Tamil Nadu.

Prof Hussaini deputed his disciple, Basha to teach Archery to his young son. Despite every effort of his star student, the junior Hussaini (later known as Shihan Hussaini the pioneer of Isshinryu Karate in India) refused to practise Archery. Junior Hussaini was an animal and bird lover and repulsed the act of shooting birds and small animals to learn the art. Target Archery using fixed straw target buttresses was unknown in Tamil Nadu at that time. The death of Basha in 1968, spelt the beginning of a dark age for Archery (1968 to 1978) in Tamil Nadu. No one used the bow and arrow for even hunting. Even the Narikuravas and Todas took up to country made guns for hunting. As Hussaini grew up and studied at the American College, his college principal and mentor Dr. Thangaraj urged him to revive and teach the Indian art of Archery instead of propagating the Japanese art of Karate. The first ever formal Target Archery class in Tamil Nadu was started by Hussaini at Suburaman Street in Madurai on March 13th, 1977 as part of the training for his martial art students. Bows made with wooden handles and bamboo limbs and arrows with sharpened tin heads and bird feathers as vanes were used.

Hussaini by now popularly known by his Karate title of Shihan was selected by the rotary international on a group study exchange program and travelled to USA in June 1982. He was introduced to modern Archery equipment and techniques of handling them in several clubs there during his six week stay. On his return, he stopped by at London and got himself trained for a week at the well known Quicks Archery center there.

Shihan Hussaini brought with him the first ever Recurve bow that Tamil Nadu saw and introduced training with it to his students. Later the same year, he travelled to UK again and brought the first ever Compound bow. Thus 1982 could be heralded as the year modern sports Archery actually got introduced in Tamil Nadu and Shihan Hussaini was the first teacher. Introductory classes were started in several city colleges and schools but there were very few serious takers as the cost of taking up Recurve or Compound Archery used in tournaments was over one lakh rupees even in those days. Shihan Hussaini's struggle to form a proper team was thus delayed by another decade with just a handful of Archers practising in his Karate Dojos after regular classes and periodic inter club competitions held once a year.

The HU Archery Mission was started in 1993 by Shihan Hussaini after the visit to Chennai by Mr Eric Kornbek the well known manufacturer of Archery equipment 'Danage Archery from Scandinavia' who donated the mission with a dozen basic Recurve bows. He visited Chennai several times on his own and taught Shihan Hussaini the latest techniques of using Recurve equipment and accessories and tuning the bow for competitions. Hussaini travelled to Singapore and became the foremost disciple of popular Archery Coach Mr Bill Wee known as the father of Asian Archery where he learnt the technical aspects of Compound bow tuning. Bill Wee was very impressed with Hussaini and called himself as Dronacharya and his fond disciple from Tamil Nadu as Ekalyva.

While TAAT (The Archery Association of Tamil Nadu) was officially registered as a society in 1998 with Mr Chandrasekaran a noted lawyer as the president and Shihan Hussaini as the founder and general secretary, recognition was given by TNOA - Tamil Nadu State Olympic Association only in 2007 with the entry of S Balasubramaniam Adityan, son of sports doyen Sivanthi Adityan as the president after a protracted wrangle with several associations appearing from nowhere and claiming recognition. The AAI - the Archery Association of India had to battle with several teams coming from Tamil Nadu for it's nationals.

When former Tamil Nadu chief minister Dr Jayalalithaa acceded to the request of TAAT's secretary Shihan Hussaini and gave Rs two lakhs to an Archer from Salem, Chinnaraju Srither to buy a modern Compound bow, there was renewed interest with Srither winning a silver medal in the Compound team event in the 2010 Commonwealth Games held at New Delhi. (Later on Srither went on to win a silver in the team Compound event in the World Cup at Shanghai in 2011 and the gold in the team Compound event in the World Cup at Shanghai again in 2017)

President of AAI, Shri Vijay Kumar Malhotra sent Shri Anil Kameneni, as a one man commission to resolve the matter of multiple groups claiming recognition, in Chennai in 2006. While TAAT was ready to merge and work with anyone, the other bodies refused to include TAAT in any merger plan. The commission left it to the TNOA to decide the matter and make its recommendations. In December 2006, TNOA called for all Archery associations in Tamil Nadu to present their Archers and credentials for personal verification. Only TAAT attended the meeting and presented 62 archers. The others did not turn up. TNOA gave affiliation to TAAT and recommended The Archery Association of Tamil Nadu (TAAT) as the only credible group to AAI. However AAI took another 3 years to finally give TAAT provisional affiliation in 2010 and confirmed it in 2012.

The official promotion of Sports Archery started in Tamil Nadu only in December 2012 after TAAT and the HU Archery Mission jointly hosted the 33rd Recurve and Compound Senior Nationals at the Anna University grounds in Chennai. This was the first ever Archery Nationals held in the state. The event attracted India's top Olympic Recurve Archery stars like Deepika Kumari, Rani Mahji, Bombyla Devi, Dola Banerjee, Rimil Buruily, Rahul Banerjee, Tarundeep Roy, Jayanta Taludkar, Atanu Das, amongst others. International Compound players from India, Abhishek Verma, Rajat Chauhan, Chinnaraju Srither were also in attendance. This event ended up as the best ever national conducted by the AAI in 39 years with unprecedented free facilities, generous complimentary gifts, professional judging, seamless logistics and a sensational opening and closing ceremony. Kirthivasan sports correspondent of The Hindu called it "A thumping success. TAAT's the way to go! The Senior Nationals, held for the first time in Tamil Nadu, turned out to be a huge success for TAAT with Hussaini proving to one and all that his organisational capabilities are second to none. His positive vibes rubbed off on to his teammates, who worked tirelessly, to make the Nationals an event to remember for a long time to come.".

The highlight of this nationals was the final friendly match between Shihan Hussaini and 8 of his teammates versus Deepika Kumari and 8 other Olympians in attendance. Hussaini's team winning over rest of Indian Olympians was a sure indication of the direction TAAT was to take in the future. The huge expenses of hosting about 1000 Archers, officials and volunteers for a week hit the organizers hard. Shihan Hussaini pleaded to the State Govt in his own maverick style. He sculpted a bust of the chief minister Dr Jayalalithaa with frozen blood donated by 30 of his Archers along with his own and made a fervent appeal which many of the top Indian Archers signed. A disturbed chief minister summoned Hussaini immediately on 31st Dec 2012 and gave him Rs 50 Lakhs with an affectionate rebuke not to use blood for such appeals. She also promised to look into his long pending demand for land for his Archery range and school. This nationals and the chief minister's largesse caught the attention of all and became a turning point for the development of this sport in Tamil Nadu. TAAT's promotion drive was in leaps and bounds after 2012.

Eager to help the development of Archery in Tamil Nadu, the AAI (Archery Association of India) deputed Shihan Hussaini to get trained under the Technical Director of Archery Education of World Archery (WA), Mr Pascal COLMAIRE at Chinese Taipei in June 2012. He was then selected to represent India at the Level 1 Coaches certification course at Bangkok in April 2013, the Level 2 Coaches course in May 2013 with a full scholarship and the Level 3 Coaches certification in Feb 2015 again at Bangkok with a full scholarship. All under the tutelage of Mr Pascal. Hussaini became Tamil Nadu's first ever and only Level 3 Coach certified by WA - World Archery, the highest official authority to govern, promote and control Archery in the World. Hussaini was selected to head the Indian Archery team on behalf of the AAI - Archery Association of India at the Asian Grand Prix at Bangkok, Thailand in March 2013 where India won 3 golds, 3 silvers and one bronze. He was again asked to lead the Indian team on behalf of AAI at the Youth World Championships at Wuxi, China in April 2013. The Indian team took a silver and three bronzes.

Hussaini through TAAT aggressively launched Project SPREAD.

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Seeking People (and) Reaching Everywhere (for) Archery Development!

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Under this project, TAAT started reaching out to every nook and corner of Tamil Nadu to seek people and places to plant the seed of modern, scientific Archery and to develop proper Archery techniques, trained Coaches and Archers. Largely attended free workshops and demonstrations in modern Archery for the interested public were organized in Coimbatore, Madurai, Tiruchy, Salem, Tanjavur, Kanchipuram, Dindigul, Tiruvarur, Thiruvanamalai, Tirunelveli, Chennai and Pondicherry.

While forming district associations, TAAT was very firm. There will be noletter pad associations. A district association will be affiliated only if there are a minimum of 6 functional clubs there. A club would be recognized if they have a minimum of one team each in Indian, Recurve and Compound divisions. A provisional affiliation of a district will be confirmed only after they participated in two state meets.

Realizing the dangers of the bow and arrow turning into a lethal weapon in wrong hands, TAAT insisted that anyone who buys, sells and carries or uses Archery equipment must register themselves with the TAAT registry and carry a sports license. There was stiff opposition to this and opponents cried hoarse alleging that this would curb the promotion of Archery. Cases were filed in courts and complaints sent to AAI and World Archery. TAAT stood it's grounds firmly. TAAT also insisted in coaches undergoing formal, scientific training to qualify teaching. Coaches without training in the 3 Levels were discouraged from teaching. Many flyby wire, overnight coaches resisted the rules and controls. Many disgruntled coaches and unqualified coaches formed their own associations.

When students of these coaches questioned their credibility and affiliation, like minded elements formed associations under the dubious 'field archery' banner. Field Archery is another variation of numerous forms of Archery like Aquatic Archery, Equestrian Archery and Indoor Archery. Field Archery is not an Olympic sport or used in World Championships and World Cup events of Target Archery. It's ironic that Field Archery and all other forms of Archery are controlled only by WA - World Archery and its national AAI and state bodies, but lay persons unaware of it are taken for a smooth ride by these imposters claiming affiliation to fancy Field Archery bodies. Many gullible aspirants thus end up wasting their time, energy and money by these commercial Archery operators. TAAT is doing its bit in warning the public against such operators.

The Archery Association of Tamil Nadu (TAAT) started the state judges and technical officials program in March 2012. The top eleven candidates attended a national judges and technical officials certificate programme organized by AAI and the Maharastra Archery Association in Amravati, Maharastra. Out of them, Mr CS Manian then proceeded to train in Incheon, Korea and became a Continental Judge, officiating in several Asian events.

In February 2016, Anoop Skanda, a six year old from Chennai became the youngest ever Indian to win a gold medal at the under 10 Mini SubJunior Nationals in the Compound event held at Vijayawada organized by the Andhra Pradesh Archery Association and AAI. In the same event, little Aaradhya, a two year old baby girl won a bronze medal in the kids Recurve event setting a record for the youngest child winning a medal in an officially recognized national event.

Shihan Hussaini became the only person in Indian Archery history to compete in both Recurve and Compound events in the same nationals held at Pune in 2009.

13 Archers from TAAT participated in the Indoor World Cup organized by World Archery at Singapore in December 2013 and won 5 bronze medals. Archers Selva and Arivarasu from TAAT represented India at the World Indoor Cups held at Marrakesh and Nimes (France) in 2015. TAAT sent the largest delegation of 15 Archers representing India at the Indoor World Cup at Bangkok Thailand in Dec 2016.

Adityaa J Ramesh from TAAT won the individual silver medal in the National Junior Compound event at the 39th Junior Compound Nationals held in Satara, Maharastra in February 2017 beating several top Archers. In the Mini SubJunior Nationals at Vijayawada, Archers from Tamil Nadu swept 14 medals. Little Hari won 2 golds, one silver and one bronze in the Compound Archery under 10 category.

Shihan Hussaini, was sent to Chinese Taipei by AAI prior to the Rio Olympics, to participate in the Asian Archery Coaching and Technical seminar in June 2016 where he made an vocal presentation on the importance of mind coaching and yogic practise in creating world class Archers. Mr Um Sung Ho, the Secretary General of Korean Archery Association was highly impressed with Hussaini and his fantastic world records in human endurance that he had performed to emphasize the strength of the mind. He hugely praised hussaini's presentation. On his return, Hussaini appealed to the AAI to allow him to 'mind tune' the Indian Archery team representing INDIA at Rio. There was no response.

Hussaini travelled on his own with the Indian contingent to Rio in Brazil for the 2016 Rio Olympics and made a fervent appeal to the Secretary General of AAI Mr Anil Kameneni there to allow him to 'mind coach' the Indian Archers on the eve of their participation. It's extremely important for a mind coach to lend mind sync and motivational support to the Archers at the Olympic venue argued Hussaini. Anil refused the proposal on grounds that the respective Archers' coaches will not agree. He also said he may be blamed if there was any set back with such a last minute coaching. The Indian Archery team failed miserably at the Sambadrome venue.

Under instructions from Mr Um Sung Ho, Hussaini was whisked away by the Korean team managers who pleaded him to motivate the Korean Archers as the top ranked Archers had lost. Hussaini declined. The president of the Korean Association Mr Chung Eui Sun made a personal appeal to Mr Anil Secretary General AAI to persuade Hussaini. Hussaini became the mind coach of the Korean Archers at the Rio venue and motivated them to win all four golds at the Olympics. AAI had a brain storming session post the pathetic performance in Rio Olympics at Habitat center in New Delhi on 4th Sept 2016 to discuss why they lost and the way forward to win in Tokyo 2020. Hussaini spoke for over an hour holding the audience's rapt attention and urged the AAI to give priority focus on mental training. He offered himself as the mind coach to the Indian team for free till Tokyo 2020 and challenged the administrators that he will quit Archery if India did not win a medal in Tokyo. "Yes, I can start a team from scratch. But that will mean Tokyo will pass by too. It's better to mind coach well trained Archers and make them win in Tokyo 2020 Olympics than wait for several more years!" The hard hitting and moving speech was well received. But AAI mired in politics did not take a decision on his appointment. A frustrated Shihan Hussaini decided to start a team from scratch and left to Auroville in Pondicherry to meditate in his favorite Aurobindo Ashram and introspect for a week.

It was by cosmic design that on October 4th 2016, Hussaini accidentally met a gentleman on the roads of Pondicherry who introduced himself and invited him for a cup of coffee at his guest house. Over coffee and an intense discussion on patriotism, Olympics, our national pride and one's contribution to the country and its cultural and historic heritage of dominance in Archery, they mutually decided to start an Archery team and make it to the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The gentleman was none other than Shri Abhayakumar Jain, the chairman of Shasun group of companies, entrepreneur and educationist.

A new sports project was born.

'S.H.A.S.U.N . - HU' Olympic, World Championship medal quest - Practise • Promote • Dominate

Shri Abhayakumar jain agreed a sponsorship of Rs five crores and Hussaini agreed to spend the next four year focussing full time on this project.

The objectives of the project were:

1. To select 8 girls from Tamil Nadu and train them from scratch in Archery to make it to the Olympics in 2020. To give them full time training with world class equipment, training and facilities.

2. To promote Archery in Tamil Nadu with workshops, demonstrations, coaches training and the media.

3. To dominate in all Archery competitions in the state, country and the world.

500 girls from the SSS Shasun Jain college were screened and 8 girls were selected after various stamina and endurance tests. A separate Archery hostel was provided, all college fees waived, nutritious food provided, world's best Archery equipment and accessories given, a dedicated Archery range allotted, a support staff of 7 members employed, an exclusive bus bought for travel by the team, and no limits budget given to the project. The project started in Feb 2017.

Emphasis was given to mind coaching, meditation and yogic exercises along with a 14 hour a day training schedule. Within a year, this Archery team had won 62 medals in various competitions in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry state level championships. The 8 member team represented the state in three nationals and represented INDIA at the Indoor World Cup at Bangkok, Thailand and the Indoor World Cup at Nimes, France. With a four stage road map, this team is now the no 1 women's team in Tamil Nadu. This is the first ever such effort by an educational institution in the Archery sports history of India and the promoters and The Archery Association of Tamil Nadu (TAAT) strongly believe that this project will bring India, its first ever Olympic medal in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.



Tamil Nadu Olympic Association (TNOA)
click logo for TNOA website

Archery Association of India (AAI)
click logo for AAI website

Indian Olympic Association (IOA)
click logo for IOA website

World Archery (WA)
click logo for WA website


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