A warm welcome was accorded to teenage archer Vennam Jyothi Surekha on her triumphant return from Incheon after winning a bronze medal in the women’s team compound segment, at Gannavaram airport on Saturday.
On Friday, Purvasha Sudhir Shende of Volga Archery Academy, the other member of the Indian team, along with coach L. Chandrasekhar, arrived in the city.
The medal won by the archers assumes significance, as the city athletes had won an Asian Games medal after a gap of 63 years.
“In the 1951 first-ever Asian Games held in New Delhi, Krishna District’s Kamineni Eswara Rao (90kg) and Dandamudi Raja Gopala Rao (95+kg) won silver and bronze medals respectively in the weightlifting event,” said District Sports Development Officer S. Ramakrishna. Meanwhile, Kethanakonda-based CBR Sports Academy chairman Chalasani Balaramaiah alias C.B.R. Prasad handed over a cheque of Rs. 5 lakh to the eighteen-year-old archer, pledging support for her preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“This girl faced a lot of hardship to achieve the medal. She is a fine example to modern-day youngsters, as she made many sacrifices to realise her goal with a singular motto. She can make use of my academy for her future preparations,” Mr. Prasad said.
Congratulating Surekha, Gannavaram legislator Vallabhaneni Vamsi Mohan promised to take to the notice of Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu the importance of quality sports infrastructure in Andhra Pradesh.
“Hyderabad was nurtured as an international sports hub during the Afro-Asian Games. We need such a mega event to develop a new sporting culture in Andhra Pradesh,” he said.
Amid ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ slogans, a visibly tired Surekha thanked Andhra Cricket Association, Laila Group of Companies chairman Gokaraju Ganga Raju, Bhima Cements, Nalanda Educational Institutes, Koneru Lakshmaiah University and Vennam Foundation for their supportin helping her realise her dream.
Surekha’s father Vennam Surendra thanked the Archery Association of India for giving his daughter direct entry.