Masks, sanitisers and strict social distancing measures would be in place when top Indian archers Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das tie the knot at Morabadi in Ranchi on Tuesday. Getting hitched amid the COVID-19 pandemic to make use of the "free time", the duo's invitation cards carry small notes that request the guests to adhere to the government's COVID-19 guidelines.
"Mask, sanitisers will be given out to the guests on their arrival. We have made elaborate arrangements, booked a big banquet hall so that social distancing is properly maintained," Deepika told PTI from Ranchi. "We won't touch anything. We want ourselves to be safe and at the same time protect others."
Only 60 invitation cards were printed and the duo have given two time slots in the evening for the guests to attend the reception, while the family members will stay confined at home, Deepika said. "We have divided our guests into two batches. In the first lot, from 5.30 to 7pm, there will be 50 and rest 50 will come in the second lot. Our family members will stay at home till the time the guests are around," she said.
International archers Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das were engaged in June 2018
Archers Association of India's newly-elected president Arjun Munda, a former Jharkhand chief minister, who has played a key role in Deepika's rise to become world number one, is expected to attend the low-key wedding. "We have invited only a few selected guests and VVIPs and sent them invitations. Rest have been invited by phone. None of our friends, fellow archers or media is invited," she said.
The duo who had been engaged since 2018, zeroed in on June 30, knowing that the situation will be eased by September, around when the AAI plans to resume the camp for the Tokyo Olympics-bound probables. "We all are staying and doing nothing at home. Everything is closed and we wanted to utilise this time. We had to get married at some point of time so finally we decided on this date," Deepika, who turned 26 earlier this month, added.
By virtue of their silver medal at the 2019 World Championships, India have clinched the men's team quota for the Tokyo Olympics that has been deferred to 2021 due to COVID-19 pandemic. Das was a member of the silver-medal winning Indian team and is all set to head to Tokyo for his second successive Olympics. Deepika, on the other hand, will be eyeing a third straight Olympics.
In the women's section, India have so far secured a solitary quota with Deepika getting the job done through the Continental Olympic Qualifiers. India will have their final chance to get a team quota through the World Cup ahead of the Olympics in July next year.