"Disappointed because I was not allowed to play with Deepika" - Atanu Das
Archer Atanu Das said that he was expecting to play with his wife Deepika Kumari in the mixed team event at Tokyo Olympics
Indian archer Atanu Das on Thursday expressed his disappointment for being denied the chance to play the mixed team event with his world no 1 wife Deepika Kumari, whom he credited for his stunning win over two-time Olympic champion Oh Jin Hyek here.
A week after their mixed team partnership was split up, the duo's bonding was well evident during Das' upset last-32 win over Oh Jin Hyek, who had won the men's team gold here. Deepika was seen shouting from the gallery to cheer her husband who came from being 2-4 down to win in the shoot-off. The duo thus remains the only Indian archers in the medal fray, advancing to their respective pre-quarterfinals.
"I was listening to her full time. She was pushing me: 'believe in myself, 'you can do it, 'just stay calm and handle the situation," Das said in the mixed zone after his 6-5 (10-9) win. "She is world number one and I'm privileged to have my wife in this competition. It was great to support and motivation for me."
Das was denied a chance to recreate his chemistry with Deepika in the mixed pair section after he slipped four places behind Olympian debutant Pravin Jadhav, who stood 31st in the ranking round.
The Indian think tank went by the rankings, ignoring the star couple's gold medal feat at the Paris World Cup, less than a month back. The duo of Jadhav and Deepika, pairing up for the first time, made a quarterfinal exit going down to their Korean rivals.
"I expected to play with her in the mixed team but unfortunately it was not possible. I don't know why...," Das said. "But it's quite satisfying (as we both are in the last-16). We are giving our best. Let's see what happens."
He next faces home favourite Takaharu Furukawa, an individual silver medalist at London 2012 and a team bronze medalist here. Das and Deepika, who tied the knot in June last year following a two-year courtship, are the first Indian couple to take part in the same discipline in the Olympic Games.
Asked whether they stay together at the Games Village, he said: "I stay with the men's team. She stays separately in the Village, but most of the time we are together."
"Please pray for us, please encourage us. We need your support and hopefully, Arch we'll come out with the flying colours," Das concluded.