Former international archer Lenin Cherukuri died while his ward and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Ritul Chatterjee escaped unhurt in a road accident at Jupdi village in Vijaywada in the wee hours of Sunday.
Lenin, who was 27, died while returning to his hometown Vijaywada after a grand felicitation of him and his CWG silver-winning wards Ritul and Jignas Chittibomma by Andhra Pradesh Governor ESL Narasimhan and Chief Minister K Rosaiah in Hyderabad on Saturday evening.
Lenin, son of Krishna District Archery Association founder President Satyanarayana, had been involved in producing and encouraging many national and international archers as coach of Volga Archery Academy.
Ritul still trains at the academy, which now has 80 up and coming archers, while Jignas has joined Services and is training at the Pune-based Army Sports Institute.
The accident occurred when Lenin, who was driving a Scorpio, lost balance while trying to avoid an autorickshaw which came at the wrong side of the road and hit the divider, at National Highway number nine near Jupudi under Vijayawada Police Commissionerate limits, around 1:30am leading to his instant death, police said.
Ritul along with Lenin's father Satyanarayana Cherukuri, cousin and driver, who all were in the vehicle when the accident occurred, escaped unhurt miraculously.
Jignas, who too was at the felicitation in Hyderabad, chose to travel by bus with his family thus escaping the accident.
Jignas and Ritul, along with Chinna Raju, won a silver in the men's compound team event at the just-concluded CWG thus creating history by earning India a first ever international medal in compound archery.
"After the felicitation, Lenin, Ritul and others took their own car (Scorpio) and left around 7.30pm, while myself and my family (including Jignas) left Hyderabad by a bus, Jignas' father Rajasekhar said.
"It's really unfortunate ... His felicitation photo are in the frontpage of every newspaper and tomorrow there will be his death news," he said.
Giving details of the accident, Rajasekhar said, "The accident took place around 1.30am near Jupudi village under Ibrahimpatnam Mandal, about 22 kms from Vijaywada, on the National Highway No 9.
"Just before arriving Vijaywada, Lenin took the car from the driver on the four-lane National Highway. After about 10 minutes, an autorickshaw was coming on the wrong side in the opposite direction," he said.
"To save the autorickshaw, Lenin took a turned right and rammed into the road divider. The vehicle jumped into the other lane and tumbled thrice as Lenin was thrown out of the door and the impact was straight on his head. Lenin was bleeding profusely and he died," Rajasekhar said.
Thankfully there was no vehicle coming from the other side as others in the Scorpio escaped unhurt. Ritul is perfectly fine," he said.
"I got to know about the accident around 3 am and we rushed to the hospital," he added.
Lenin's body was taken to the Government Hospital in Vijayawada for post-mortem.
The archery academy set up by Satyanarayana about five years ago is named after Lenin's sister Volga, who also died in a road mishap around five years ago.
Lenin, who retired from the sport around two years ago, had won many medals in national and international events, including in the Asian Archery competitions.
The Archery Association of India (AAI) general secretary Paresh Nath Mukherjee in his condolence message said, "We are really pained to hear this news. He (Lenin) was a promising coach and was involved in producing promising archers. It's a big loss."