Tribal archer aims at bullseye
As a schoolboy he had watched his seniors shooting arrows at an open space at Paderu, the revenue divisional headquarters of Visakha Agency and gained interest in the sport. Some years later, G. Bairagi Naidu, now doing second year B.Sc. at the Government Degree College at Paderu picked up a couple of medals at the junior national championship and set for a bright future.
At the just-concluded 36th junior national championships held at Kokrathar in Assam, Bairagi Naidu claimed gold in the 40 M Olympic round (elimination round) and silver in the 30 M round event. Earlier in the month he won gold medal in the 30 M senior national championship held in Jabalpur with a record breaking performance. His score of 344 out of 360 points was better than the 10-year-old record of 342 points.
Starting practising archery when he was in the 10th class might be a bit of late start but at Sriramamurthy Archery Association(SAA), run by P. Bhavan Shankar of Narsipatnam, to which his seniors like Sudhakar took him, helped him to hone his skills under SAA trained G. Lakshman and with support from PET T. Sadguru. His mother Satyavathi is looking after a two-acre land at Konthili, 7 km from Paderu and initially he had struggled to keep his interest in archery as there was not much support. However, principal of his college Sobha Rani and other lecturers contributed and presented him with four wooden bows, arrows and target stand.
A demo he and others presented on the RK Beach impressed the then Collector Lav Agarwal who had arranged four international standard recurve variety bows and arrows through the ITDA, Paderu. For him and others the authorities arranged food and stay at the Community Ashram School of Paderu. This facility was discontinued after February and when the full-time Project Officer for ITDA, Vinaychand, took charge, they approached him and he resumed the facility.
Bairagi Naidu participated in the State meets but was not successful initially.
But more hard work and training saw him achieving success. He understood what competition and atmosphere in the State and all-India meets when he participated in the mini sub-junior national championship at Vijayawada in 2009 and State meets and School Games competitions in different places.
He made his presence felt by missing bronze medal by just one point in the sub-junior national championship at Shillong in 2011 after finishing fourth in the State meet held earlier. He won gold in the State meet next year and was ranked fourth overall in the junior national championships held in Hyderabad. In the same year he was 13th in the overall rankings in all-India inter-university meet and reached semi-finals in the Olympic round. Later, he took 20th position in the senior national championships held in Raipur and lost in the semi-finals of the Olympic round.
“I need a good quality bow and arrows and good coaching,” says Naidu. And the local philanthropists are ready to fulfil his wish.
On Sunday, MD of CMR group M.V. Ramana donated Rs. 5,000 to the archer for his good show in the senior and junior championships and a badminton veteran player Usha Sree and her husband Ch. Ravi Naidu presented Rs. 1,116. At the felicitation function held at Andhra University, Ramana, chairman of the District Archery Association T.S.R. Prasad, secretary Satyanarayana and Director of Physical Education of AU M. Syambabu assured Bairagi Naidu that he would get an international quality bow, costing around Rs. 1.30 lakh, before the New Year.
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