"Tokyo Olympics loss has been a baggage," says Atanu Das after 8th-place finish
Atanu Das is in danger of being upstaged by several new talents - as the recent National Ranking Archery Tournament showed - but he is determined to shrug off recent disappointments with an Asian Games medal.
Atanu Das might have scored a famous win in the Tokyo Olympics before being knocked out last year, but he will have his task cut out to qualify for the 2022 Asian Games.
As his 8th place finish at the National Ranking Archery Tournament in Hyderabad last week showed, there are plenty of fresh talents in the fray in men's archery. Reigning national champion Parth Salunkhe topped the men's individual recurve event on Saturday, with the 29-year-old Atanu still struggling to lose some 'baggage' from the Olympics.
"We will be able to identify and analyse the areas that we need to work on through the first tournament of the year," Das told the Bridge.
The Baranagar archer said he has his sight set on a maiden medal at the Asian Games to overcome his recent disappointments. The first of three selection trials for the Asian Games are scheduled at the Sports Authority of India's (SAI) Eastern Centre in Kolkata from March 7 to 10.
"A medal at the Asian Games will be a mental boost. I will look to finish on the podium in the individual event. The loss at Tokyo 2020 has been a baggage for us which will be wiped off and we will be prepared well for the next tournaments," the World Cup gold medallist said.
Focus on mental aspect in 2022
Atanu Das was knocked out in the pre-quarters of the men's individual event at Tokyo 2020, after he failed to overcome local favourite Takaharu Furukawa. He had knocked out London 2012 gold medallist Oh Jin Hyek in the previous round, one of the best results for Indian archers in Tokyo.
Das said he has largely focused on the mental aspect of his game while taking a fresh guard in 2022. He has made yoga and meditation core parts of his training regimen.
He has also cut short on fatty substances in his regular diet to maintain fitness.
"I start with yoga and meditation in the morning. Then our training starts at 8:30 am after breakfast till 12 pm. Then around 2:30 to 6:30pm we start our second round of training," Das said.
"Then we work out, have cardio exercises mostly, this is the schedule we have for now," he added.
Das also said he wants to remain in constant touch with Mumbai-based sports psychologist Mugdha Bavare who has been guiding him to improve his mental fortitude since 2018.