Archers practice at JRD Tata Sports Complex. File picture
Jamshedpur, Sept. 16: Tata’s loss might well be the railways’ gain.
Four top archers of Tata Archery Academy — V. Pranitha, Lakshmi Rani Majhi, Rimil Biruly and Helen Mundu — are gunning for a job with Indian Railways and are attending selection trials called by South East Central Railway in Bilaspur, Madhya Pradesh.
The two-day exercise, which began today, will determine the future of the cadets, apart from five other archers from Jharkhand — Nisha Rani Dutta, Niva Kerketta, Ashrita Kerketta, Suman Lata Murmu and Sweety Kumari. The state’s archers left for Bilaspur yesterday night.
Barring Helen, the three other Tata cadets have international tags. Pranitha was part of the Indian archery squad for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, while Rimil will represent India in the upcoming Asian Games in China. Lakshmi is employed with Tata Steel on a contract basis. Former Tata cadets Nisha, Niva, Ashrita and Suman also have international exposure.
Sources said the Tata cadets stand a fair chance of grabbing a job. “They have been in good nick and are well-known archers,” a source said.
Tata Steel sports department is least pleased with the possible departure of the cadets, especially Rimil. “Rimil should have waited till the Asian Games. A medal could have popped up her market value,” said an official said.
The cadets are seeking jobs in the railways at a time when Tata Steel had planned attractive packages for them, including roping in a foreign coach and increasing their stipends. “Since the company was involved in the nitti-gritties of grade revision of workers, these plans would have materialised by now,” officials added.
Cadets getting jobs in the public sector would also account for loss in medals tally for the academy. The foursome have been winning medals and earning laurels for TAA in national and international levels.
Rimil, a tribal who resides at Bhatia Bustee in Kadma, is being viewed as a prized archer. “She has a long way to go. Her stance and shooting style is like any world class archer. It will be a big loss for us if she gets a job in the Railways at this point in time,” officials observed.
Charles Borromeo, senior manager of Tata Steel sports department, said they don’t stop archers from seeking jobs. “But I think the process of employment in the railways take time. Till then cadets will remain with us and also participate in events.”