Asian Games 2018

Asian Games: India’s Abhishek Verma confident of a rich haul of medals from compound archery

Verma backed the under-fire recurve section and said they would also win three medals.

Top Indian archer Abhishek Verma is still confident of clinching two medals in the Asian Games, the same number he won in the last edition, despite the compound section he competed in will not have individual events this time.

The 29-year-old Verma won a medal each in individual and in team event at Incheon Asian Games in 2014 out of India’s total of four, all from the compound section. The recurve archers had returned empty-handed.

With two World Cup gold medals and one silver in World Cup Final, Verma is the top medal prospect in these Asian Games beginning August 18. These Games, though, will have no individual events. He will be competing in team event and a mixed pair event.

“But that (no individual events in compound archery) will be same for everyone. We have mixed pair event inducted now, so either way I stand a chance to win two medals,” Verma told PTI from his training base at Sonepat.

“Definitely, there will be medals in all the three sections – men’s and women’s team events and mixed pair – but it’s difficult to predict the colour of medal right now. It will depend on that particular day and the conditions,” he said.

India are the defending champions in the team event but Verma said: “We will not be under pressure. It’s just that we will look to bag both the medals (team and mixed pair). All teams are very strong. We will look to give them competition, not the other way round.”

India had returned empty-handed in the recurve section at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, a big setback from bagging three medals at Guangzhou 2010 where Tarundeep Rai had won a silver. The biggest disappointment has been the men’s recurve team who has slipped from being world number one in 2010-11 to being number 12 now.

Better showing from recurve?

But Verma backed the under-fire recurve section and said they would also win three medals.

“They did not win any but we won four. I’m sure we will win three in compound and three in recurve in Indonesia this time. There was a time when they won all the medals, hopefully good days will be back again soon.”

About his role in the Indian team, he said: “I will be leading the team. I don’t see any junior-senior divide. It’s a team effort. As per the situation, we will decide on the order.”

In an ideal scenario, Verma starts the proceedings while Rajat does the finishing but things may change, he said.

“It’s about making the junior comfortable, we will see what best can be done,” Verma said.

The Indian team is having a 10-day coaching camp under two-time World Cup Final winner Sergio Pagni of Italy.

Terming this a fruitful experience, he said: “He (Sergio Pagni) did not make any drastic changes, but giving small but really helpful tips.”

“Most of us know how to drive a car but not all of them can manoeuvre through tricky roads when you’re getting late. It’s about staying unruffled. Anyone can shoot an arrow but it’s during a pressure match your real character comes out. He gave us tips on the things we lack and miss a medal during a pressure match. It’s about winning from a crunch situation, which he has taught us.”

Move away from archery

Verma further gave full credit to Sports Authority of India Center at Sonepat for improvement in the compound section.

“The biggest secret is the Centre of Excellence at SAI Sonepat. We spend our entire year here. We don’t go around, we stay here completely focused on shooting. Full credit goes to COE Sonepat SAI. This is the only reason why we have been doing well consistently.”

Verma was mulling to switch to shooting as compound section does not figure in Olympics.

“It (an Olympic medal) is not that important for me but for my country it’s huge. I want to switch but will see how it goes.

“My main focus is on the Asian Games now and the World Cup Final. I already have a (silver) medal in the World Cup Final. Both are equally important and want to win a medal in both of them,” Verma, who has qualified for the World Cup Final for a second time, said.

The compound events are slated to begin in Jakarta from August 23 and the Indian archery contingent will leave for Indonesia on August 14.

In four years since winning two medals in Incheon, Verma has become more responsible, and a proud father too. Arrival of his son Shaurya in February this year has changed his life, and Verma said: “My son has been really lucky for me. Medals keep coming from every event after Shaurya was born.”

(With PTI inputs)

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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”


“Like what?”


A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”




“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:


This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.