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Fair archery feat by teen duo
- Girls beat odds to emerge champions at school nationals

To be ‘fair’, Jharkhand has twin reasons to cheer.

Two teenaged girls from the state have shot to glory in the ongoing 59th National School Games Archery Championship for under-19 boys and girls in Nashik, Maharashtra.

If 16-year-old Soni Kumari from Dhanbad has emerged the national champion in the Indian round, Reena Kumari (18) of Silli bagged the title in girls’ recurve division.

Soni, who hails from a very poor family residing in Hatudi Bustee of Mohuada in Dhanbad, achieved her feat of two gold medals and one silver on the opening day on Wednesday.

Reena pocketed five medals — two gold, two silver and one bronze — on the penultimate day of the championship, which will end on Friday.

Daughter of a parking attendant at an auto stand, Soni slotted home gold in 30m individual round (314 points) before teaming up with Sombari Soy and Kalavati Kumari for another yellow metal in team event. The budding archer also clinched silver (298 points) in 50m, finishing second to Sombari of Seraikela-Kharsawan district.

“I am very happy to become a national champion. I was very hopeful of winning medals,” said the Class XII student of Inter Ucch Vidyalaya over phone from Nashik.

Soni, who has dreams to switch over to recurve division, trains at railway ground in Mohunda. Her mentor Budheshwar Murmu said she has immense talent and ability to withstand pressure in crunch situations.

“My ward is just 16 years old, but is matured enough to come out a winner in pressure situations. I am very satisfied with her performance at the school national meet,” he added.

Like Soni, Reena has humble roots. Her father works at a printing press in Ranchi.

At the school championship, the Class X student of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Silli, bagged gold in 50m (283 points), silver in 60m (283), silver in 30m (327) and bronze in 70m (257) to come up with a total of 1150 points.

She got another gold after being declared the top under-19 recurve archer in the country. “I am excited to have achieved this feat. My hard work has paid off,” Reena, who trains at Birsa Munda Archery Centre in Silli, told The Telegraph over phone.


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