• gold15
  • silver24
  • bronze30
  • Total69

Asian Games 2018: Staying detached from outcome calmed me down, says Deepak Kumar

Following the biggest achievement of his life on Monday, silver in men’s 10m air rifle, Deepak Kumar stayed calm and behaved as one who had renounced all worldly pleasures

asian games 2018 Updated: Aug 20, 2018 18:34 IST
Ajai Masand
Ajai Masand
Hindustan Times, Palembang
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Deepak Kumar poses after winning the silver medal in the 10m Air Rifle men's event on Monday.(PTI)

Spending his life in a gurukul, Deepak Kumar says the grounding taught him to be detached irrespective of a setback or a joyous moment. Following the biggest achievement of his life on Monday, silver in men’s 10m air rifle, Deepak stayed calm and behaved as one who had renounced all worldly pleasures. That’s what he has been taught at Gurukul Pondha on the outskirts of Dehradun.

For him, wearing dhoti and kurta and performing havan (religious ceremonies) and studying religious scriptures in Sanskrit was a way of life for more than two decades. He has followed a Spartan lifestyle from the day his parents shifted him from the comfort of his Delhi home to the gurukul because they didn’t want him to be influenced by the Capital’s culture.

“They thought I would be spoilt by the Delhi culture, so they moved me to Dehradun. Not that they weren’t able to afford my schooling in Delhi, but they wanted me to grow up in a ‘clean’ environment,” said the sergeant with the Indian Air Force at the Hindon air base.

ALSO READ: Asian Games 2018: Deepak Kumar wins silver medal in Men’s 10m Air Rifle

The gurukul initially provided him with the rifle and then paid for his expenses at the Jaspal Rana Academy in Dehradun where he honed his skills. Even today, he takes the name of his mentor at the gurukul, Acharya Narendra, with reverence. “I spoke to him after my silver medal and he told me to stay rooted. This (winning the Asian Games silver) is the first step, you have to climb the staircase, the acharya told me,” said Deepak calmly as those around him waved the Tricolour with enthusiasm.

“We are taught that victory and defeat are two sides of the coin, like life and death, and the ultimate aim is to achieve godliness. So, these minor achievements don’t matter when one sets out to achieve the bigger goal,” said Deepak, who now resides in Delhi but is in touch with his acharya, who “washed my clothes and taught me hygiene when I entered the gurukul as an eight-year-old.”

For him, a true sportsperson is one who acquires knowledge and disseminates it without a grudge. “A true sportsperson is one who gives back to society what he acquired in his sporting career.”

Deepak says he would still have been happy had he lost out to compatriot Ravi Kumar in the competition. “If I start envying my team-mate’s achievement, I would be going against the tenets the gurukul taught me. I enjoy every moment, be it my team-mate winning or me losing. Life is too short to ponder over such petty things.”

On his success, he said, “My qualification wasn’t going the way I wanted it to. My scores were dipping. So, I reminisced what my teachers taught me in the gurukul... to remain detached from the outcome. It calmed me and I made the finals,” said Deepak, who is a Bachelors in Sanskrit.

First Published: Aug 20, 2018 18:32 IST