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Arrow of faith turns archer into soldier

- Hurdub Tiriya lands army job under sports quota, spared fate of many contemporaries

Tribal archer Hurdub Tiriya, whose passion for the target took him from a remote village in West Singhbhum to represent India at youth championships in Poland and China, has now landed a job as an army jawan.

Twenty-year-old Hurdub, a former cadet of SAIL’s Eklavya Archery Academy in Kiriburu, West Singhbhum, who has over 10 medals in the recurve section in national championships, most recently a bronze at the Junior National Archery Championship in Assam’s Kokrajhar this year, landed his Indian Army job under the sports quota.

He left for Nashik, Maharashtra, his posting, over a fortnight ago.

Mat puchiye kaisa lag rahan hai. Itna khush hoon ki bata nahin sakta. Sab bhagwan ki meharbani hain (Don’t ask me how I am feeling. Can’t describe my joy in words. It’s all god’s grace),” Hurdub told The Telegraph over phone from Nashik.

The lad from Lohahatu village in West Singhbhum is an only child. His widowed mother is a farmer.

“My mother means everything for me,” he said simply. “She worked in the fields to raise me up. We barely managed to eat but cash was hard to come by. Very hard,” he added.

As an army jawan, he would not have to worry about that anymore. “Yes,” he agreed. “I had wanted a proper job all my life. And the prestige of the army is something else altogether.”

Asked about his life’s turning point, he mentioned his induction to the SAIL archery cradle in Kiriburu in 2008.

“I walked 30km from Lohahatu village to reach Majgaon block in West Singhbhum. Then, I boarded a train from Majgaon to reach Barbil, from where I reached Kiriburu by bus. I arrived in Kiriburu penniless, in a tattered school uniform and torn slippers. But when I was successful in the selection trials, I knew I had made a start,” he said.

The boy went on to take part in numerous camps and tourneys across India, as well as world youth championships in Poland in 2011 and China in 2013.

Hurdub is looking forward to sending money to his mother from his salary. “I want her to live well,” he said. Even when he got Rs 800 as monthly stipend as a cadet, he dutifully sent his mother Rs 500 and saved money for expenses such as repairing their hut when an elephant damaged it.

His coach at the SAIL academy, Rajendra Guinya said the army job had come as a huge relief for Hurdub. “His mother works in farms to somehow keep them going. I am sure she is very proud. I always had faith in Hurdub’s potential,” he said.

Do you know any jobless sportsperson of repute? Tell ttkhand@abpmail.com