Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Persevering past the pain

Selkirk archer fights off inner-ear infection to win silver medal in team event at Commonwealth Games

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Doris JONES knows all about playing through pain, so perhaps winning a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in India while fighting off an ear infection is nothing.

You know, compared to the time the product of Selkirk won an international archery tournament while her fingernail was falling off of the fractured thumb of her shooting hand.

The 21-year-old Jones captured a silver medal Thursday in New Delhi as a member of the Canadian compound bows team that was edged 232-229 by England after upsetting host India to advance to the final.

Meanwhile, Winnipeg gymnast Gabby May won bronze in the vault for her second medal of these Games. It was part of a 12-medal outburst for Canada that doubled the country's medal count to 24, moving Canada up to fourth overall behind Australia (69), England (47) and India (34).

Jones' father Tim, who has been coaching his daughter since she first took up the bow at age four, called the silver medal the highlight of the archer's young career.

"She did darn good, as well as I expected," the proud papa said from the family's home in Selkirk. "As far as I'm concerned she's one of the best archers in the world. She didn't win gold, but she brought a medal home for Canada."

Doris Jones could not be reached for comment, although her father revealed the archer has been competing with an inner-ear infection. But Jones is no stranger to adversity.

You see, a few years ago Jones, still in her teens, was involved in a single-vehicle accident on a gravel road where the car she was driving rolled up to five times down a steep incline into a ditch. Jones suffered a broken thumb on her shooting hand, among other scrapes and bruises.

The accident happened just five days before Jones was scheduled to compete at the junior world championships in Mexico. She refused painkillers, even at the accident scene, because it would have led to a positive test in Mexico.

"She had to learn her release over again and only had five days to do it in, and shoot with the pain also," Tim Jones recalled. "When we were in Mexico, her fingernail fell off. We had taped it on (after the accident), but we knew it was going to fall off. And with that hand she was pulling back 47 pounds just with those three fingers."

In Mexico, Jones' injured thumb was held in a metal brace, wrapped in bandages, which she took off to compete. She won the event.

However, the impact of the airbag slamming into her face during the car accident has left Jones susceptible to ear infections, especially when she flies.

"Guess what? She's in India and she's got an ear infection," Tim Jones said. "It's affecting her balance."

The problem, according to father/coach Tim, is that Jones doesn't realize when she sometimes begins to list while shooting. Coaches and Canadian teammates keep a watchful eye over her during competitions.

"She begins to weave a little on the line, when she's concentrating," he said. "I hope it goes away by Saturday (for the individual women's compound event), because she's got some tough girls to go against."

In fact, Jones is ranked No. 1 heading into the final eight of the women's compound competition, the only Canadian left standing. Not bad for a competitor who, after capturing the junior crown, rarely competed in the last three years. Jones only entered the Commonwealth Games trials because they were held in Winnipeg this past summer.

Meanwhile, another Manitoba archer, Jay Lyon, is ranked second overall heading into the final eight of the men's recurve event on Sunday.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 8, 2010 C1

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