Bad luck for Deepika Kumari; she faced a Korean opponent — Former Olympian archer Dola Banerjee
Legendary Indian archer Dola Banerjee talks about Deepika Kumari's tragic exit from the Tokyo Olympics
Archer Deepika Kumari's momentous run at the Tokyo Olympics came to a disappointing end as the Indian lost her quarterfinal match to South Korea's An San on Friday.
With this defeat, a golden opportunity has been lost. World No. 1 in women's recurve archery, Deepika's dream of becoming first Indian archer - among both male and female - to reach Olympics semifinal has suffered a blow when World No. 3 An San handed her 6-0 defeat, winning all three sets.
Earlier on Friday, Deepika Kumari created history when she defeated Ksenia Perova, who represented the Russian Olympic Committee, in the quarter finals. The Jharkhand archer became the first Indian ever to reach the quarterfinal in the Olympics history.
Deepika's bad luck she got a Korean as her opponent
Talking about Deepika's tragic exit from the Games, legendry Indian archer Dola Banerjee said a chance of winning an Olympic medal has been lost, but it is her bad luck that she got a South Korean as her opponent in the quarterfinal.
"It is her bad luck. She got to face a South Korean archer in the quarterfinal. And I think the wind condition was there. She might have misjudged it. But again it was not under her control. She shot multiple sevens. It was of course against her will. But that is part of the sport. She performed really well till the pre-quarterfinal. Today's match was important for her. Had she won it, she would have easily won a medal going forward," Banerjee told The Bridge from her Kolkata residence.
"The Korean archer's every shot may not be good, but still she shot better than Deepika. You know how good Koreans are at archery when it comes to performing on the biggest occasion, the Olympics. They are very cool and composed. It was not Deepika's day," added the former world champion.
Despite her defeat, Dola Banerjee, who participated in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, wants to give full credit to Deepika for becoming the first Indian to play quarterfinals at the Olympics.
"Deepika has reached there on her own capabilities. She has already created a record for India. She has been in good form for the last year. She was very confident and focused in all the matches she played. She did well, it is her credit. What would I say more?" she asked.
Atanu stands chance to win a medal
Now, after Deepika's exit India's hope in archery lies on her husband Atanu Das, who stunned South Korea's two-time Olympic champion Oh Jin-Hyek, one of the greatest names in the sport, in men's singles Round of 16 elimination.
The Indian archer, who is ranked 9th, took World No. 1 Oh by surprise as he took the match to the shoot-off to the South Korean's shock.
On being asked to comment on Atanu's remarkable performance on Thursday, Banerjee said, "I did not expect him to take the match to the shootoff. It was a spectacular performance from him. He started badly scoring two eights, then his comeback pissed Oh. And in the shoot-off, Atanu was taking time to shoot. I was worried. I thought he might lose crucial time or a chance to shoot. But his arrow hit the sweetest spot on yellow to bag perfect 10. I think he now stands a chance to win a medal."
Atanu Das will next face Takaharu Furukawa of Japan in Round of 8 elimination on Saturday.
Pressure management depends on individuals - Dola Banerjee
Since American gymnast Simone Biles, one of the faces of Tokyo 2020, was forced to withdraw from the women's team final due to mental health concerns, the issue of pressure management came into the picture again.
In June, when Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka had quit the French Open the matter of mental health was hotly debated. After 24-year-old Biles' withdrawal from the Olympics, the subject made a comeback to sports fold.
On Wednesday, Sjef van den Berg, an archer from the Netherlands, went a step further taking a call on his career at 26 citing performance pressure.
"I leave relieved," said van den Berg, whose career was over with a second-round loss to Marcus D'Almeida of Brazil in the men's archery individual competition. "The same moment the headache came (after the match), I also felt a weight drop off my shoulders," he told the media in the mixed zone while announcing his retirement.
It must be noted that archery is one sport that takes a huge toll on the mind and body of athletes as the focus is key to success in this sport.
Talking about this the former Asian Games and Commonwealth Games medallist Banerjee said, "Pressure management depends on individual to individual. There is no standard rule for it."
Maintaining 68-70 heartbeats is not possible
Meanwhile, of late, heartbeats (beats per minute) of archers have become the brand new subject to discuss for netizens as the broadcast of archery events live has given them a peek into the heartbeats of top archers competing at the Tokyo Olympics.
South Korean archers, who are exceptionally good at keeping their emotions under control even in the toughest situation, have always had their heartbeats between 70 to 90 BPM so far in the Games. That heart reading is considered healthy in any sport.
But for other archers who struggled to strike their arrow at the smallest circle for a perfect 10, the heartbeat was over 160 BPM.
Asked to explain what BPM is ideal for athletes during events, Banerjee, who now coaches aspiring archers at Rabindra Sarobar ground, has cast a doubt on the figures shown on the live broadcast.
"90 to 110 BPM is considered normal. For others maybe below or a little bit above is good. Sometimes higher intensity helps archers to charge themselves up during events. But 70 or 68 BPM during events is not correct. It is literally impossible. I feel during events everybody suffers a stress, it is natural. So, heartbeats will be on the higher side," she observed.
"But very fast heart rates is not good as your body will shake, you will lose control over your mind. Brian's calmness will go away. Then obviously you will not able to shot the arrow properly. Your performance will be affected. South Koreans are very calm, they maintain good composure. They do not get rattled under pressure. Hence their heartbeats stay between the normal range. That is why they have always been successful at the Olympics," added Banerjee, who won 16 gold during her illustrious career.