India's archery couple, Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das have been engaged for a long time now and were waiting for Tokyo Olympics to get over for them to get married. Now with the Games being postponed for a year, they are rethinking on their decision to get married as reported by ESPN.
"The original idea was to focus completely on the Olympics and get married once it's over," Atanu tells ESPN, "But now, with the postponement, we're having second thoughts. We've been engaged for close to two years now. Maybe once the virus scenario eases, we might get married this year." He thinks this to be the 'the unexpected gift of time'.
Archers Atanu Das at the finals of National Rankings Archery tournament at Yamuna sports complex in New Delhi on June 23rd 2013. (Image: Indian Express)
2020 Tokyo Olympics was postponed owing to the mass spread of COVID-19 all over the world which has caused close to 34,000 people to die and more than 7 lakh people being infected.
The couple has already secured quota for the Olympics and as per updates. With Atanu, Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadhav comprise the men's team which was assured of a spot after a 5-3 win over Canada in the pre-quarterfinals of the World Championships, for Deepika it came after a gold medal finish at the Asian Continental Qualifying tournament in November last year.
Deepika Kumari (Image: She The People)
For Deepika, this will be her third Olympics while for Atanu, it is his second appearance. He believes,"I learnt how important it is to have the right mind. Our sport is so much about being able to manage confidence, concentration and anxiety. The margin between medal and no medal is just so narrow. In Rio, I was shooting fine, but my mental strength wasn't up to the mark."
His senior and a more experienced archer, Deepika taught Atanu a lot of things. "I've learnt so much from Deepika," says Atanu, "Her attitude of karna hai to karna hai (if you have to do it, you have to do it) is something I admire. Also the effort she puts into her physical fitness. It hasn't slackened in all the years I've known her."
Leander Paes with Parents Vece and Jennifer Paes (Image: India Today)
With the latest updates, the archer pair might just be India's second married couple to take part in Olympics together. In the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich Vece Paes and his wife Jennifer Paes became the first Indian married couple to take part in the Olympics together.
Vece Paes was a former Indian hockey midfielder,while Jennifer Paes is a former basketball player from India who captained the Indian national basketball team in 1982 and participated in the 1972 Olympics. Their son, one of India's most prominent tennis players, Leander Paes went on to win the bronze medal in 1996 Atlanta Olympics.