Commonwealth Games gold medallist and former World No. 1 Deepika Kumari feels Indian women archers face a daunting task of securing the full quota for next year's Olympics owing to the cancellation of planned tournaments in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Indians have just one tournament left to qualify for Tokyo Games and two spots to earn.
Talking on Indian paddler Mudit Dani's online chat show 'In The Sportlight', Deepika said that the country's female archers had worked hard and were confident of securing the quota ahead of the COVID-19 lockdown. "We were completely blanked as qualifiers were in a month's time when the lockdown happened, our practice was going really well but then suddenly we had no idea what to do," she said. "Right now, we only have one quota spot in the women's category and only one qualifier is left to secure the two other quota places. Normally we always secure a full quota by this period, but it is different this time around," the two-time world champion added. After failing to secure the team quota at the World Championships in June last year, the Indian women's archery team will have their last shot to secure the full Olympics quota in Paris, as a separate tournament is planned ahead of the World Cup in June next year.
🇮🇳 India gets 1⃣ recurve women individual quota for #Tokyo2020
Deepika Kumari and Ankita Bhakat both reach the semi-finals in the Asian continental Olympic qualification tournament in Bangkok.
▶️ Top 3 archers get individual quotas. pic.twitter.com/n0exoTuK9u
— The Bridge (@TheBridge_IN) November 28, 2019
Deepika, who's currently the country's only woman archer to have secured a spot at the Tokyo Games after winning gold at the Asian Continental Qualification Tournament in Bangkok last year, also recalled that despite being a two-time Olympian, she has never been part of an Olympics opening ceremony. "In archery our ranking begins on the same day as the opening ceremony. So we feel sad that I have never been to any opening ceremony and have only watched it on TV," she said. Deepika, who picked up the bow and arrow for the first time in 2007, has seen her family go through many financial struggles and challenges in life. The 26-year-old Ranchi woman, who is currently ranked ninth in the world, is part of the national camp which is training at the ASI in Pune.