Tarundeep Rai is the veteran Indian Archer hailing from North-Eastern India and one of the Archers credited to have put India on Archery map. He started his career at an age of 19 in the Asian Archery Championship in 2003.
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Tarundeep Rai was born on Wednesday, 22 February 1984 (age 37 years; as of 2021) in Purano Namchi, South Sikkim. His zodiac sign is Pisces. He attended Government Senior Secondary School and spent his early childhood in his hometown Namchi. Later, he got admission to an Army School in Shillong. His interest in Archery rosed up after watching Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayana when he was a kid. He alongside his friends tried to imitate bow and arrow fight scenes using Bamboo and sticks.
Height (approx.): 5′ 8″
Weight (approx.): 60 kg
Hair Colour: Natural Black
Eye Colour: Brown
Body Measurements: Chest- 42″, Waist-32″, Biceps 14″
Parents & Siblings
Tarundeep Rai is a part of the Kirati Community . His father, Shri Dil Bahadur Rai was a professional photographer and his mother is a housewife. He has one sibling, Ruby Rai who is a Nurse by profession.
Wife & Children
Tarundeep Rai was married on 17 January 2011 to Anjana Chettri from Namchi. They have one son named Nusam Singh Rai who is 9 years old (as of 2021).
His first Gold Medal was won at the Asian Grand Prix Bangkok in 2004. He also won the Bronze Medal in the men’s recurve team event at the Asian Archery Championship in 2005. The same year, he won the silver medal in recurve men team event at the World Archery Championship where he lost to Won Jong Choi by 106-112 in the semis. He continued his winning momentum by winning the bronze medal at the recurve individual event Asian Archery Grand Prix held in Jakarta. In the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, India was in limelight in Archery, when Tarundeep Rai bagged the bronze medal in the men’s recurve team event alongside Viswash, Jayanta Talukdar, and Mangal Singh. But as it is said that every rose has its thorns. Tarundeep Rai suffered from injuries that made him shoot with the wrong hand. He recalls that event by saying,
“Those few years when I had to grapple with the shoulder injury taught me everything in life. I even tried shooting left-handed but it did not help. I was taking painkillers but in vain. The year 2008 and almost half of 2009 were unforgettable.”
It was a huge setback to have an injury at such a young age of 24. But he came back strongly later when he won the 2009 Asian Grand Prix held in Tehran. The following year saw the golden phase in his life when he won four medals back to back at the prestigious world events. Making his way forward, he won the men’s recurve team gold at the 2nd Asian Grand Prix held in Bangkok in March 2009. He also won the silver medal in the same event at the Archery World Cup at Porec, Croatia.
In 2010, he bagged a silver medal at the 16th Asian Games in November 2010 at Yangon, Myanmar and became the youngest Indian Archer to do so. He was constantly dominating the decade as slowing down was not in his dictionary. Winning the silver medal at the 2019 World Championship in s-Hertogenbosch and the bronze medal at the 2019 Asian Archery Championship in Bangkok were just a few of them. He got selected for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be held in 2021. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit the entire nation, he was under lockdown. During that phase, he choose to remain in Army Sports Institute (Pune) with his teammate and young Archer Pravin Jadhav from Maharashtra.
However, it was a disappointing event for him as he was crashed out in the Men’s Individual Recurve event after losing a thriller in Round of 32. He was outclassed by Rookie Itay Shanny of Israel in the hard-fought match. But the start of the Olympic campaign was good as he defeated Oleksii Hunbin of Ukraine 6-4 in the Round of 64 at the Individual Recurve event.
Awards, Honours, Achievements
Arjuna Award, by the Government of India in 2005
Padma Shri, by the Government of India in 2005
Padma Aalo, by the Government of India in 2020
Sports– Badminton, Volleyball, Boxing and Football
His hobbies include listening to music, watching movies, driving, and singing.
He is the cousin of the former star football player of India Bhaichung Bhutia.
He has represented India at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens where his team finished at 11th place and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London where his team finished at 12th place. In between, the only event that he missed was the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing due to a shoulder injury.
The Chief Minister of Sikkim Prem Singh Tamang has announced that an Archery Academy will be set up by 2032 in Sikkim in honour of Tarundeep Rai.
He also inaugurated the Olympian Groove at Army Public School in Pune in 2021.
He was made the Brand Ambassador “Poshan Maah” in 2021. Poshan Maah is the campaign by the Government of India that aims to protect children from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and encourage them to consume vegetables and fruits by setting up a nutrition garden in their region.
He was also made the Brand Ambassador of the “Fit India” Campaign that aims to spread awareness about fitness across all citizens of the country.
He serves in an Indian Army on the rank of Subedar.