‘It all happened in a jiffy’

For the hard-working archer, the out-of-the blue idleness was the most frustrating phase in his life.-PTI

The forced exit, due to injury, saw Jignas slipping from the No. 2 rank to No. 10. The diminutive archer is determined to look ahead of the unfortunate incident and he has come out with a string of productive performances to seal his place for the Asian Games at Incheon. By J. R. Shridharan.

His child-like enthusiasm led to a forced lay-off for two months. Delhi Commonwealth Games silver medallist Jignas Chittibomma, a compound archer, while participating in the Jamshedpur national ranking archery tournament in April, tripped over a rope and had a fall impacting the hand that holds the bow.

The 19-year-old cracked his bones between arm and wrist and was rushed to the army hospital in Pune after initial treatment. For the precocious teenager, his parents and coaches, the incident came as a shock for Jignas is tipped to be in the flight for the Incheon Asian Games in 2014.

Nayak Subedar Jignas, after a systematic rehab programme, under the watchful eyes of coaches and administrators at the Army Sports Institute in Pune, is back with a bang at the shooting range. And at Wuxi (China), the venue for the recent world youth archery championship, he bagged three medals — all bronze — in individual, mixed team and junior boys’ team championship. “This is a clear pointer that he is getting his act together,” says Rajasekhar, his father, who is an irrigation engineer with the AP State Government in Vijayawada.

Former Volga Archery Academy archer Jignas, partnering Rajat Chouhan and Sudhakar Paswan defeated Great Britain (229-222) in the team championship play-off and later he partnered Vijayawada fellow-archer Jyothi Surekha to pack Belgium off (153-144) and settle for the third place in the mixed team event. In the individual segment, he outmanoeuvred Belgium’s Scarceriaux (143-141) to complete a hat-trick of medals.

For the hard-working archer, the out-of-the blue idleness was the most frustrating phase in his life and he patiently waited to set his hand free from the sling. “I was restless. I never thought I would be inactive and not punching the arrows at the targets. It all happened in a jiffy,” recollects Jignas.

Though Jignas has recovered (from the injury), he, sometimes, feels the pain while releasing the arrow and drawing the string. “He is ninety per cent fit and with proper physiotherapy he will be cent per cent fit. If the load is increased he feels the pain. He will be alright in another three weeks time. He should desist from extensive practice,” says M.B. Gurung, Indian coach at the Army Sports Institute, Pune, who accompanied the Indian team to Wuxi. The weather at Wuxi took the young archers by surprise as low pressure in the East China Sea caused fluctuations both in temperature and wind velocity. “We were told that the weather would be warm and humid — just like India. But cold weather and squally winds greeted us. There were highs and lows in the temperature during our week-long stay. In fact we brought some winter-wear to keep ourselves warm,” says Gurung.

Keen to ensure the comeback of Jignas, his coaches have lessened the poundage of the compound bow. “Bow poundage will vary depending on the purpose of the equipment and the age, strength and physical condition of the archer. From 50-60 weight range, we have lessened the poundage to 30-40 by loosening the limb bolts. The low pressure will give him the comfort while shooting. But he has to adjust his trajectory while shooting,” says coach Ravi Shankar.

The forced exit saw Jignas slipping from the No. 2 rank to No. 10. The diminutive archer is determined to look ahead of the unfortunate incident and he has come out with a string of productive performances to seal his place for the Asian Games at Incheon. Jignas will be practicing for the senior nationals and later he will be a part of the Indian probables team for a training stint for the coming Asian Games.