Italian international archer and two-time Hyundai Archery World Cup Final winner Sergio Pagni has been helping the Indian compound squad prepare for the biggest tournament on its 2018 calendar.
Pagni’s expertise and experience are assets India’s management thought would help fulfil those expectations.
“The project was born last year. Abhishek Verma and coach Teja asked about my availability to help them improve results,” said Pagni. “We organised the first step during the world championships in Mexico, then in January they came to Italy for two weeks.”
That period was spent focusing on mental side of the sport.
“My method is to put a lot of attention and knowledge into the mental preparation, and to give all the instruments to work better on the aiming problem that all archers have to face, sooner or later,” he said.
That advice might already have paid off, with India’s compound women reaching the number one spot in the team world rankings for the first time ever in July.
Finally, Sergio spent two weeks at Sonipat training centre, one hour north of New Delhi, until the start of August – just before the team moves to Jakarta.
“Looking back, I’m very proud of their hard work. I think India is one of the stronger teams, both men and women. I think they are competent, have ability and enough mental focus to take a final match,” said Pagni.
“But we know that in archery, sometimes we need some more luck than the opponent.”
Pagni has been a professional archer and coach for a decade, and not missed an international season as a member of the Italian team since 2008.
Among the archers he coaches is Marcella Tonioli, the 2016 Hyundai Archery World Cup Final Champion and a qualifier for this year’s circuit finale.
He won’t be giving up shooting for a full-time coaching role soon, though.
“I’ve got enough experiences and the ability to coach at the highest level. I won’t give up, as an athlete or as a coach, and they are only different challenges,” Sergio said.
The compound competition at the 2018 Asian Games will include team and mixed team events; the recurve competition will include individual, team and mixed team events.
The archery competitions at the 2018 Asian Games take place on 19-26 August in Jakarta, Indonesia.