Sanand Salil Mitra is an International archer and two times national gold medalist in archery.He is also the founder of VAYAM Group, an Indian archery pioneer organization. The most feared competitor in the compound circuit for his brief archery career (2005–2007), Sanand raised the bar & standards in the national archery circuit.His venture similarly aims to raise the bar of Archery in India.Sanand a Robotics & Artificial Intelligence major by education & a striving entrepreneur established VAYAM-Visionaries & Entrepreneurs in 2008 with Varna Honnavar to boost the standards of Indian Archery & to bring it up to international standards through a corporate endeavour.
“It was sad to see that in India the archers lack the international facilities and equipments for their performance. So I decided to provide them the same through my company,” said Sanand Mitra. He also added that India can do a lot in the sports but high costs and lack of infrastructure support limit sportsmen.
This ace former archer fondly remembers, “It was 2005 and I was waiting for my B-School entrance exam result. I started practising archery in a thorn covered field which I had leveled with a bulldozer earlier. I went to a cyber café, downloaded pictures and would practice alone for as long as 16 to 17 hours in a day! I used to get up at 5 am and would often have just one meal. Since I had no idea about any benchmark, I would read about the world record scores on the internet and target those! And after 27 days of practice, I made my debut on the national archery circuit and managed to grab medals and break the national record. It felt great!” Sanand bagged the highest medal tally in a single tournament for his state, Chhattisgarh. He blazed a medal winning trail for his 2 year long stint in Archery & finally left competitive archery in 2007.
He landed up a job in Indian Railways from which he resigned in 2008 to start his own firm, VAYAM-Visionaries & Entrepreneurs.
He adds, “Being an engineer, I expected a lot from the world and would often ask myself why I was pursuing a sport that hardly offered any incentives. But since I was winning almost everything, I fell in love with the sport and preferred to fight the odds.”
The future of archery in India is brilliant and while it’s an expensive sport, proper support can produce several champions. It’s a very addictive sport and at the same time, can be a therapeutic experience too,” he says.He goes on to add, “Indian sport is at a very critical juncture right now and our recent performances are proof enough that a lot can be achieved with proper planning. Sports like archery can yield you greater results in six months than the same effort spent in a game like cricket, where you have to go through so many stages before thinking of playing at the highest level. We need sponsorship and more city-level clubs to promote the sport. It’s an expensive sport and it shouldn’t be a case of the money preventing enthusiasts from learning the craft. We can’t dream of producing champions with the kind of infrastructure that is in place at the moment.”
While talking about his future plans Sanand said that the game should be included in the school curriculum and also he is planning to form an NGO, with a bus which can travel to the places and teach archery.
Fully commited to making Archery a mainstream sports, his venture Vayam is providing training and support to budding archers.