Archer flips for gold

GLEN DAWKINS -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:02 AM ET

When Doris Jones found out she'd fractured her right thumb in a car accident earlier this month, the 17-year-old from Selkirk thought of only one thing. How is she going to win a world championship with a busted thumb?

"Oh great," recalled Jones. "How am I going to shoot? Can I still go to Mexico?"

Apparently she can shoot quite well, busted thumb and all.

Jones struck gold in the Junior Women's Compound event at the FITA Junior/Cadet World Target Archery Championship, last week in Merida, Mexico. With her victory, she became the first Canadian archer to win an individual gold medal at a world championship.

"I was kind of shocked to see that I was going to the finals and actually won gold," said Jones, a Grade 12 student at Lord Selkirk Regional who turns 18 next month. "I wasn't expecting it at all."

But five days before she left, her road to Mexico took an unexpected turn.

Jones was driving home on Provincial Road 212 when her car hit some loose gravel and lost control. She hit the ditch, flipping the car two or three times before it landed on the driver's side.

In addition to the fractured right thumb, she snapped three nails on her right hand and suffered a cut on the inside of her left elbow and a big bruise on her left forearm. Jones lost the hearing in her left ear and her balance was affected.

"I didn't have a clue that I didn't have very good balance at the time because I was swaying back and forth while I was shooting," recalled Jones, whose hearing is slowly returning to normal. "I had no idea, they just told me that. It turned out OK in the end."

While a fractured right thumb is painful enough, it's even worse for an archer. Her right thumb is basically her trigger finger, releasing the bowstring to fire the arrow.

"It's nearly impossible, with my kind of release, not to use your thumb," she said.

The doctors fitted her with a splint so that she couldn't bend her thumb. But her thumb swelled up so much the first day of the week-long competition that she had to bend the splint open so that her hand would fit.

As the competition wore on, she started putting her thumb into coolers of ice water to fight the swelling.

"I'm pretty sure I started to cry when I found out that I won," she said. "I know I had a couple of tears."

But the tears were worth it for the opportunity to watch your flag go up and hear O Canada being played as befits a world championship gold medallist.

"It was amazing," Jones said. "I was quite proud and I'm pretty sure I made everybody else proud. I really don't have words to describe (the feeling)."

Meanwhile, Candace McIntosh of St. Adolphe won bronze in the Cadet Compound Team event and was 14th individually.

To add insult to injury, Jones' scope and a screw on her bow were broken on the flight home from Mexico.

Jones will get her thumb x-rayed again soon. If it looks OK, she'll begin training for her next big competition, the World Archery Festival, Feb. 9-11 in Las Vegas. Qualifying events will be held in December and January in Winnipeg.


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