Tokyo Olympics: Eyes on Deepika Kumari, Atanu Das as Indian archers look to end Games drought
Four Indian archers have qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Games and they are -- Atanu Das, Tarundeep Rai, Praveen Jadhav, and Deepika Kumari.
With four days to go for the Tokyo Olympics to get underway, athletes across the globe are looking to give finishing touch to their preparations for the showpiece event. The Indian contingent is no different as 127 athletes will look to give it their all and bring glory to the country. And the archers in the contingent are expected to rise to the challenge and bring glory with their performances.
Archery would host five events in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics -- men's individual, women's individual, men's team, women's team, and mixed team. More than 120 athletes across the world are expected to participate in the events. They will get underway from July 23 and it will run up to July 31 at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field.
Archery is one event where India is yet to win a medal at the Olympics. However, this time around, the country is confident of its archery contingent as all four qualified competitors go into the competition having done well in their previous competitions.
Atanu Das, Tarundeep Rai, and Praveen Jadhav are the three archers who would be competing in the men's individual event and these three also make up the men's team. The women's team has not qualified for the upcoming Olympics.
Deepika Kumari who is now the number one archer in world rankings after winning gold at the Paris World Cup, is the lone Indian participant in the women's individual event. Deepika won three gold medals at the Archery World Cup Stage 3 in Paris. Along with winning women's individual event, she also won a gold in women's recurve team event and mixed event with husband Atanu Das.
After winning gold at the World Cup in Paris, Deepika has emerged as a medal favourite. However, earlier at the Games in London and Rio, Deepika disappointed as she was not able to bring back a medal and now she would look to finally end her Olympics drought. She would hope to take her form into the mega event, which would be her third Olympics. The world number one now has the country's eyeballs on her, and it would be interesting to see whether she can continue with the momentum that she grabbed during the Paris World Cup.
Talking about Atanu Das, the 29-year-old had bagged an Olympic quota at the 2019 World Championships. The archer had made his first Olympic appearance in 2016 in Rio, but he was not able to go past the round-of-16 stage. Now, he would look to go all the way in both individual and men's team events.
Tarundeep Rai is the oldest member of the archery team. The 37-year-old will represent the country at the Olympics for the third time. The two-time Asian Games medallist will look to guide the team and hopefully come back with a medal. Tarundeep had earlier represented India at the 2004 Athens Olympics and 2012 London Olympics.
Pravin Jadhav had attained qualification for the Tokyo Olympics when India men's recurve team bagged a silver medal in 2019. Jadhav also topped the standings of all Indian archers during the selection trials at the Army Sports Institute in Pune this year.
The Indian archery contingent might be small in number, but all of them have had enough game time behind them, and it is safe to expect at least one medal from these four talented archers.