It took two 16-year-olds from the Volga Archery Academy in the Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh and an armyman from Chennai to give the Indian men’s compound team its first major success, a team silver medal. And what better stage to get it and against what opposition!
The crowd had played a big role as the women’s team beating Malaysia in the morning session to take bronze. In the afternoon, officials from FITA, the sport’s world governing body, had to intervene and use the public address system to ask the crowd to stay quiet. It did, as the Indian men’s team upset formidable South Africans in the semifinal.
C. Jignas, Ritul Chatterjee and C. Srither had set the lane on fire with some precision shooting. The tempo was lost in the final largely due to the fact that with the crowd keeping quiet, there was nothing much that could have upstaged a confident England. And India’s home advantage went for a toss.
Even then, Jignas’s performance stood out. Every time the chips were down, he showed this uncanny knack of hitting a 10. He can do it consistently and has a flamboyant confidence about him that gets the crowd right behind him. All he has to do is stand up to the shooting line and, even before the arrow hits the target, raise a hand to the crowd.
His father Rajsekhar is an engineer and wanted him to pick up archery. So Cherukuri Satyanarayana’s academy, named after his daughter Volga who died in a road accident a few years ago, was home for Jignas ever since he was nine.
His teammate Ritul, who at 16, is the youngest member of the team, is a Bengali settled in Varanasi.The third and senior-most at 26, Srither is our national champion.
Archery is not a regular feature in CWG. Then again, compound archery is not part of the Olympics and the Asian Games, at least not before 2014 in Incheon. So this, by default, becomes their highest stage outside the World Championships and the World Cups.