Shooting straight

Jyothi Surekha…a bold and focussed archer.-CH. VIJAYA BHASKAR

She is from a Tier Two city and in a sport that is yet to get its due in the country. But that hasn't deterred Vennam Jyothi Surekha from hitting the headlines. Over to J. R. Shridharan.

Three major domestic titles in a year and selection to the Indian team for two back-to-back World Cup tournaments — all at the age of only 16 years is no ordinary achievement. The fact that she is from a Tier Two city, and in a sport that is yet to get its due in the country despite its medal-winning prospects in prestigious competitions only makes her achievement all the more creditable.

Meet Vennam Jyothi Surekha, the compound archer from the Volga Archery Academy in Vijayawada that has produced internationals such as the late Ch. Lenin, Ch. Jignas, Mangal Singh Champia and Ritul Chatterjee.

Surekha, a find of former India coach Ch. Lenin, came into the limelight at the age of 13 when she won five medals including the Olympic round gold in the Mexican Grand Prix held in Tijuana (Baja California, Mexico). Her other medals in the meet were: three silver (50m, 40m overall) and a bronze (20m) in the FITA round.

Surekha earned the appreciation of many in the domestic circuit by winning gold medals in the individual Olympic round competitions at the Sub-junior, Junior and Senior Nationals in 2011-2012. She then sealed her berth in the Indian team for the World Cup Stage I (Shanghai, April 10 to 15) and Stage II (Antalya, May 1-6) tournaments along with Parveena, Gagandeep Kaur and Lily Chanu.

“Winning three gold medals in three Nationals in one year is laudable. She is a bold and focussed archer and she achieved these qualities from swimming as a toddler,” said D. Saiswari, the coach of the Indian women's compound team.

As a four-year-old Surekha entered the Limca Book of World Records by crossing the River Krishna thrice, covering a distance of five kilometres in 3:06.20. She also took part in several National swimming competitions before taking up archery.

Most archers employ deep breathing techniques before shooting as it helps in gaining stability and control. “Surekha had developed good breathing techniques during her stint as a swimmer. Swimming is considered the mother of all exercises and it has helped her develop a strong body and an effective breathing technique,” said the Indian coach, Limba Ram.

Limba had played a crucial role in establishing the Volga Academy in Vijayawada, which has produced quality compound archers.

Surekha uses her energy brilliantly while shooting and knows well how to get the maximum effect out of each release. “She scores 340-345 (out of 360) on an average which is exceptionally good,” said Cherukuri Satyanarayana, the chairman of the Volga Archery Academy.

According to Limba, Surekha has a bright future as the compound segment would be included in the 2014 Asian Games and later in the Olympics. “We can look forward to medal-winning feats by this teenager,” said Limba.