Purnima Mahato: The Underrated Legend From Steel City

Purnima Mahato is an Indian archer and archery coach from Steel City whose list of achievements is full of laurels and glory. She is the first women of Jharkhand to be awarded the prestigious Dronacharya Award.

Struggle Days: From Burmamines to Delhi

“Like any other student in the city, I started playing athletics but soon I got attracted to archery. The bows were quite expensive, however, my father managed to get me a second-hand bow. After being able to prove my potential during my initial training at Burmamines I went to the National Camp where I proved my talent and with sheer determination and started hitting bull’s eye,” recalls Mahato in his interview with The Pioneer.

Awards as Player

As an archer, Mahato earned medals in both national and international archery competitions. She was also an Indian national champion. At the 1993 International Archery Championship, she earned a gold medal in the team event. At the 1994 Pune National Games, she won six gold medals in archery. She competed at the 1994 Asian Games but did not win any medal. In 1997 at the National Championships, she earned two gold medals and set two national records. She earned a silver medal at the 1998 Commonwealth Games. At the 1999 Indian National Games, Dola Banerjee broke a national record Mahato had set two years earlier in the 30-metre archery event.

Student To Mentor

Mrs Mahato joined Tata Steel in 1994 as a coach at the Tata Archery Academy a position she had held as of 2012. She has personally coached many archers including the 2012 summer olympian Deepika Kumari.

She served as coach of the Indian National Teams in many events including the 2012 summer Olympics where she served as the national team’s coach.

  • 2005 Senior World Outdoor Archery Championship at Spain, where her team earned a silver medal.
  • Coached the Indian side at the 2007 Senior Asian Archery Championship in China.
  • Coached the Indian side at the 2008 World Cup in Croatia.
  • Coached India at the 2009 World Youth Archery Championship.
  • Coached the three Indian archers at the 2010 Archery World Cup Grand
  • Coached the Indian national team at the 2010 Asian Games.
  • Coached the Indian national team at the 2010 Commonwealth games.
  • At the Global Sports Summit TURF 2011, she was named the coach of the year.
  • She got Ram Dayal Munda Award for best coach of the year from the Government of Jharkhand on Olympic Day Run celebrations,23 June 2012 at Ranchi.
On the Path to Being an Inspiration

On 29 August 2013, Purnima Mahato was awarded the Dronacharya Award from the President of India. The first lady from Jharkhand to achieve something huge in the field of sports.

In her interview with The Pioneer, she said that my biggest dream in life is to ensure an Olympic gold for my country.

Your past doesn’t determine how successful you can be, from a small place like Birsanagar to one of India’s most successful archery coach, Mrs Mahto has come a long way.
“Sheer determination is what you need and you can achieve anything in life”.

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