Eyes poised with steely-focus, not a single nervous flutter, a bespectacled, Deepika Kumari raised her arms, stretching out the bow and arrow with taut precision and shot to glory, most confidently, at the Archery World Cup Stage 3, in Paris. A steady favourite for India, Ranchi's Deepika Kumari is a brilliant medal prospect at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and her rock-solid, hat-trick gold medal streak from today is enough to certify it.
isn't a stranger to success but the World No. 3 archer in the individual Recurve Women's category, lapped up to a trio of victories as she clinched 3 gold medals from the Archery World Cup to add to her extensive collection. Creating history instantly, the former World No. 1 Deepika Kumari became the first Indian archer to win 3 medals at the Paris World Cup, in a single day, which is a massive feat in itself.
Deepika Kumari's golden run at the Paris Archery World Cup
Komalika Bari (l), Deepika Kumari and Ankita Bhakat wins gold at the Archery World Cup in Paris, Image Source: World Archery
The first medal of the day came from the Women's Recurve Team comprising Deepika Kumari, along with Ankita Bhakat and Komalika Bari. Going up against the top-seeded Mexican trio of Aida Roman, Ana Vazquez and Alejandra Valencia, in a heated final clash, the Indian team won 57-57, 55-52, 55-54. Memories of India's clash with Mexico at the Guatemala World Cup are still fresh and Deepika, on that instance, had scored a fine 10 in the extremely nerve-wracking shoot-off, to clinch gold, as well.
A gold medal already in her bag, Deepika Kumari moved on to the Mixed Team Recurve event, where she paired up with her archer-husband Atanu Das. Exhibiting nerves of steel and exuding a positive body language, the husband-wife duo sparred off against the Dutch combine of Gabriela Schloesser and Sjef Van Den Berg. Making a comeback from a set down, the Deepika-Atanu pair notched a 37-38, 36-33, 39-37, 38-38 on the scoreboard to clinch the yellow metal. For the Deepika-Atanu duo, who is looking to continue this razor-sharp form at the Tokyo Olympics where the Mixed Team Recurve event is set to debut, this was the first-ever gold medal win as a pair!
In her final event of the day, Deepika Kumari, unwaveringly stood her ground, eyes still keen with focus and determination as she competed in the Women's individual Recurve event. Clashing against Elena Osipova of Russia, Kumari was relentless and kept perfectly toe-to-toe with her opponent. Minor twitches in her face when a shot landed outside the 10 mark, Deepika Kumari managed to always quickly recover and braved her way to collect a third gold medal of the day, winning 29-26, 29-28, 28-27 in a 6-0 score. Moreover, this was Kumari's fourth gold medal victory in the individual Recurve event at the World Cup stage, and this win is a major marker of her raging form ahead of Tokyo.
By winning 3 gold medals in a single day at the high-pressure stages of a World Cup event, Deepika Kumari has joined the league of South Korean archers like Chang Hye-jin, who won all 3 golds at the 2018 World Cup Stage 1 in Shanghai and Kang Chae-young, who also did a hat-trick gold collection at the 2019 Archery World Cup Stage 1 in Medellin, Colombia.
Deepika Kumari will shoulder India's best hopes in archery at the Tokyo Olympics
Husband-wife duo of Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari also won gold at the Archery World Cup, Image Source: World Archery
Deepika Kumari, who is set to become the World No. 1 once more after her scintillating performance today, will be India's best hope in archery at the upcoming Tokyo Games. A 2-time Olympian already, Kumari's journey has been most remarkable and the 27-year-old archer has only grown in leaps and bounds. Hailing from a financially-difficult background in Ranchi, Kumari has struggled to the top and is India's most decorated archer currently, with 5 World Championship medals, 6 Asian Championship medals, 2 CWG golds and a bronze at the Asian Games to her credit, alongside multiple medals collected from the World Cup's.
Coming back strongly from a lacklustre performance against a lower-ranked Colombia recently, Deepika Kumari put up a jaw-dropping performance today in Paris and created history in the process. Kumari's climb to the top, once again, is incredibly inspiring and definitely hopeful for Indian fans hungry for a medal in archery at the Tokyo Olympics.
A composed and calm exterior during the nerve-wracking matches and a quiet yet jubilant smile flooding her face, after each of the victories, the Jamshedpur-resident shot to victory and announced to the world that she is more than ready for Tokyo! If we are to judge by today's form alone, it can be safely said that Deepika Kumari is a very potential medallist and the 27-year-old is eager to pen more history in the coming month, assuredly.