Kolkata: After being in the job of the chief coach of Indian archery for one year and 11 months, Limba Ram`s tenure with the archery team ended on a sour note after the Archery Association of India decided not to renew his contract.
During his tenure, he did enjoy some highs with 17-year-old Deepika Kumari`s success at the international level and the men`s team`s gold medal winning effort with a record score at the World Cup Stage IV.
But in the last two months where India competed at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi and Asian Games in Guangzhou were not memorable enough as the fancied archers "fell short of expectation" even as there were some bright spots.
With his contract not renewed, the three-time Olympian is back in Jaipur and is all set to join the Sports Council of Sawai Mansingh Stadium as archery coach.
Talking to PTI from Jaipur, the 38-year-old said, "The last couple of months were not that memorable. I was expecting at least one gold at the Asiad but we failed there. But, I`m very happy for Tarundeep Rai."
Tarundeep won silver while men`s and women`s team returned with a bronze medal each from Guangzhou 2010.
Limba said his biggest regret would be the Commonwealth Games where they failed to rule on the home turf.
Terming their CWG outing as a "painful experience", Limba said: "We had the home advantage, the form was with us as just before the CWG we had perfomed exceedingly well at the World Cup Stage IV in Shanghai and the men`s team were the champions."
"But we failed to shoot like champions on our home turf. Even weak archers shot better than us. We were way below our usual scores. The men`s team was the biggest disappointment."
Limba, however, did not blame himself for the failure.
"Why should I blame myself? I had given my best. I can help them prepare for a competitiob but when they have the bow and arrow in their hands, it`s their skill and mindgame. It`s not like in football or cricket where a coach strategises from the field," he fumed.
Having trained for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games for close to two years at the SAI (Eastern Centre) in Kolkata, Indians had aimed for six gold medals out of the eight – four each in recurve and compound sections -- on the platter at the Delhi 2010.
But they returned with three gold, one silver and four bronze medals as Deepika, who won the women`s individual recurve, was the biggest find while their star archers failed short of expectation.
After their return from CWG, there were felicitations and award functions all over that affected their preparation for the Asian Games, Limba said.
"The momentum was broken... everyday many of our archers were called here or there for some programme. How can you expect them to perform best in Asiad? I had already voiced the concern but nobody listened to me then..."
"There were some heartbreaking moments especially when our women`s team lost to South Koreans in the tie-breaker in the semis. A gold was assured had we won it. The men`s team also had a similar story. We missed out narrowly. But Tarundeep was exceptional winning first ever silver," Limba said.
Asked whether he would have liked to continue as the Indian coach, Limba said: "My contract was till Asian Games. But I`m willing to offer my service anytime."
"Even if I`m not there (as the national coach), I will be with archery. I`ve to unearth new talents, groom them and prepare them for tomorrow," said Limba who belonged to Saradip village in Udaipur district.
Limba was appointed the national archery coach in January, last year and his contract expired last month.