CHENNAI:From threatening to go on an indefinite hunger strike to getting ready to fight for a gold medal, it has been an eventful month to say the least for India’s compound archer V Jyothi Surekha.Along with her teammates Divya Dhayal and Muskan Kirar, the compound women’s team will vie for the yellow metal against Chinese Taipei on Friday in the Archery World Cup Stage 2. That’s not all, the 21-year-old also combined with Abhishek Verma to set up a bronze medal clash with Belgium in the compound mixed event.
Controversy had begun after Jyothi claimed that officials of the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP) had reduced the cash incentive announced to her by the state government after she had won the Arjuna Award. An academy coach had also threatened to commit suicide after she refused to recognize him as her coach. With a troubled mind, she had flown to Antalya in Turkey for the tournament.
By her own admission, it was difficult initially but once on the field, she forgot all her problems. “That period was difficult for me and my family. But it was something between me and the state. Country always comes first, and once the first round began, my focus was solely on producing my best for the country. I’m glad that I could keep up my good form,” she told Express from Antalya. The mixed pair had bagged a bronze in Stage 1.
And the girls have been at it from the get go, posting totals of 227, 234 and 233 points — out of 240 — in the elimination phases. They closed with a dominant performance over hosts Turkey in the semifinals.
This is a vital year for the compound archers as the Asian Games are coming up and performance in the group events is key as that is the only event for compound (individual events have been done away with). India have a young women’s compound group and camaraderie is vital. And Jyothi feels the group is ready. “We try and spend together as much time as possible both on and off the field. We keep exchanging information on how each of us can improve. The best thing is we are almost of the same age and we treat each other as equals. Coaches Jiwanjot Sir and Lokesh Sir also give us valuable inputs. Challenging for medals is the best way to prepare.”
Recurve women stay in hunt
The recurve contingent was spared the blushes of returning home empty-handed once again with the women’s group comprising of Deepika Kumari, Promila Daimary and Ankita Bhakat set to shoot for bronze against Chinese Taipei. The recurve men archers continued to under-perform as none made it past the quarterfinal stage.