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April 7, 2021

Youngsters taking up archery in large numbers


April 7, 2021

KARACHI: The Turkish historical TV drama Dirilis Ertugrul has lured people in Pakistan, especially youngsters, towards the sport of archery.

“The drama series’ effect is unique as we are having hundreds of people of all ages seeking to learn archery,” said Farrukh Bilal, Secretary General Sindh Archery Association (SAA), while talking to ‘The News’.

“This drama series has revived people’s interest in archery. This is very encouraging because this traditional sport doesn’t get much attention in general,” said Farrukh.

He added that youngsters, women and even senior citizens are taking up this sport to relive the experience they had in the drama series.

Farrukh added that the drama series has increased the number of registrations with their association.

“School kids are taking interest in this sport. We approach schools and hold workshops there. Recently, we organised an inter-school competition in which 15 schools participated,” said Farrukh.

He added a number of schools have established their archery teams and are regularly taking part in competitions.

Farrukh said that they need safe venues to hold events since they avoid mass gatherings considering the safety of people and participants.

“We cannot hold it in open spaces like parks due to safety issues. We need closed premises,” said Farrukh, adding that there are 25 archery clubs in Karachi providing training to people.

But, he added, people are not adopting it professionally. “People take up this as a hobby which is one of various reasons behind its recent popularity,” said Farrukh.

One issue, he added, that is holding back the sport is its expensive equipment which has to be imported as there is no local production.

“Only traditional equipment is manufactured in Sialkot and that is insufficient. So we import re-curve bows and arrows from China, whose cost is linked with Pak rupee’s value,” said Farrukh.

Sadly, he added, sports complexes and venues in Pakistan do not have ranges for archery. “They don’t even have it in their basic designs, which is unfortunate,” said Farrukh.

Meanwhile, an enthusiast from Nagin Chorawngi told this scribe that he developed interest in archery after watching the Turkish drama series.

“I watched all six seasons of this drama series and now I have a strong urge to learn archery. I am looking for a suitable club so that I can start it,” said Wasiq Ahmed, who works for a public relations company.