Richpal Singh Salaria is one of the most interesting names in the field of Indian sports. He was a gold medalist archer (recurve category) in the national championship. Archery coach Richpal has produced nearly 25 archers of international standard in his last 16-year coaching career. Richpal Singh is probably the only Indian sportsperson who was one of the country’s frontline soldiers in Kargil during the India-Pakistan war. During the three terrific months, Richpal saw many of his colleagues, and soldier friends died. Richpal always says those three months’ experience has made him fearless and transpired with utmost confidence and motivating capacity.
The Memory of the Kargil War
Richpal originally hails from Jammu. His father was also in the Indian army and fought in the 1971 war between India and Pakistan. Richpal who is presently the chief coach of Madhya Pradesh State Archery Academy (MPSA) still remembers the day when his father who also had the taste of taking a bullet during the 1971 war, packed Richpal’s baggage before his son’s final departure for Kargil. He cannot forget the day when his mother accompanied him on his journey to the transit point. Commenting on his experience, Richpal said,
“What else more I can say? I was watching the bombardments beside me, watching the death of my friends and colleagues. I just forgot about death. It was a do-or-die situation every moment. Those three months made me fearless, induced the ultimate confidence while inspiring my students and those three months have helped me a lot to continue my coaching successfully.”
Richpal Singh was the chief archery coach of the Indian army team for almost 10 years. Then in 2016, he joined as the chief coach of MPSA and in the last six years, nearly 40 archers have shown performance at the state, national and international levels. Muskan Kirar and Amit Kumar have already been prominent names in Indian archery so far as both of them have won medals in the World Championship this year. Besides, under the tutelage of Richpal, Ragini Marco and Srushti Singh have also been performing at the international level for the last year.
Amidst the promising students, Richpal specifically mentioned Sonia Thakur’s name. According to Richpal,
“This under-17 girl archer has been consistently performing at the national and international level for the last couple of years. I believe Sonia will reach the level soon where she will be able to win laurels in international competitions.”
Richpal Singh: The Preparation for Big Shows
Richpal revealed that Indian archery has a few important competitions starting next year. He said,
“We have World Championships from where the qualification for the Paris Olympics will be decided. Then we have Asian Games next year and finally the Paris Olympics in 2024.”
Richpal pointed out that in the last Olympics (Tokyo) any of the Indian archers failed to make a podium finish.-- Advertisement --
“This time we should be quite desperate to win medals in Paris,” finished off Richpal who is also associated with the national team as one of the coaches.