Promising woman archer commits suicide at Pune training camp
Archery fraternity shocked by Pratima Boro allegedly killing herself during national camp
In a shocking incident, Pratima Boro, an international archer from Assam, on Friday allegedly committed suicide at the Army Sports Training Centre in Pune where she was participating in the national camp.
Pratima, in her early 20s, was found hanging from the ceiling fan of her hostel room by using her bed sheet.
It is learnt that she had been suffering from depression for some time.
The incident came to light after her absence from the morning season of the national camp for the recurve event got her colleagues suspicious. They subsequently went looking for her.
"When her friends went to her room, they found it locked from inside. They opened it and found her hanging from the ceiling fan using her bed sheet," according to archery sources.
The exact reason for Pratima taking the extreme step was not known. Her body has been sent for post mortem.
The sources said that the Army Sports Training Centre did not have women wardens.
Since the Archery Association of India has been de-recognised by the Sports Ministry, the camp for the recurve event was being held at Army Sports Training Centre and not at SAI Centre.
Pratima was a member of the Indian recurve women's squad for the 2009 World Cup Stage IV in Shanghai and World Championships in that year.
She was earlier a cadet of Tata Archery Academy at Jamshedpur.
Meanwhile, Jayanta Boro, President of Assam Archery Association, has shot off letters to AAI, Army authorities in Pune and SAI asking them to investigate into the incident.
"It's a shock for the entire Assam Archery fraternity. She was one of the brightest archers to come out from Kokrajhar," he said.
Olympian Dola Banerjee, who has been training with Pratima at the same training centre here, said she was shocked when she came to know of the incident. "Everything looked normal in morning as she trained with us in the first session till 7am. But she did not turn up in the 9 am session, saying she was not feeling well. We never had a hint that something was amiss. Everything was normal till we got the shocking news," said Banerjee who was Pratima's team-mate in the 2009 World Cup Stage IV.
"We were like a family here. Nobody should take such an extreme step," she said.
Dola described Pratima as a hard-working and talented archer. "She was extremely hardworking and disciplined. I have competed in so many tournaments with her but never ever had I heard any complaint about her.
"She had represented India at all levels -- cadet, junior and senior. She started her career with Tata Archery Academy. I know her since her academy days. Later she joined NF Railway. She was part of a 12-member women's recurve team who are here in the camp since February. For the last two years, she was not in the Indian team till she returned to the camp in February," said Dola.
International archer Rahul Banerjee, who has also been training at the same centre here, also expressed shock at Pratima's death.
"The AAI secretary Anil Kamineni along with another official had come to visit the camp today in the morning. We all discussed some points and the mood was just fine. But Pratima did not turn up in the 9am session and we heard that she had a stomach upset," said Banerjee.
"But we are terrified to hear the news (of her death). Never ever had such a thing happened in archery. We all are in a deep shock. For her to come from a state like Assam, Pratima was very bright and dedicated. I knew her since my Tata days," he said.
Tata Archery Academy coach Poornima Mahato said, "I know her since 2002 when she joined the academy. She was one of the brightest talents to come out from Assam. Along with Jayanta Talukdar, Pratima was quite a team from Assam. I'm extremely shocked and depressed to hear this. Never ever such a thing had happened in archery. I'm sure a pall of gloom would have engulfed the camp," she said.