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"People wrote me off too early": Atanu Das reaches final at National Games

The 30-year-old Atanu Das, who defeated veteran Tarundeep Rai 6-0 in the semifinals, said Tokyo would not be not his last Olympics.

Atanu Das Archery

Atanu Das after reaching the individual recurve final at National Games (Abhijit Nair/TheBridge)


Abhijit Nair

Updated: 3 Oct 2022 2:56 PM GMT

Ahmedabad: After a disappointing few months following the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, ace Indian archer Atanu Das shot his way back to form by reaching the final of men's individual recurve at the ongoing 2022 National Games at the Sanskardham Sports Complex here.

The 30-year-old, who defeated veteran Tarundeep Rai 6-0 in the semifinals, said that critics wrote him off too early for their own good.

"The Tokyo Olympics was tough. It was very bad for me because I had high expectations from myself. I was mentally exhausted after the loss and it was tough to deal with, so I decided to take a two-month break," Das told The Bridge after reaching the final.

"But things changed quickly in those two months, critics completely changed the narrative. Log bohot kuch bolne lage…Atanu khatam ho gaya (People started speculating a lot of things…Atanu's career is over). But I was never believed I had a downfall. All these things keep happening in life," he chuckled.

Atanu maintained that the break post the Olympics was necessary for him to re-energise and re-strategise.

"I was at a point jaha muje lagne laga ki duniya khatam ho gya (I started thinking the world is over). So, the break was necessary to get back into the zone mentally. Tokyo was not my last Olympics," Das declared.

"People keep saying a lot of things. No one wants to lose intentionally at a stage as big as the Olympics, but a very few understand that. Lekin logo ka kaam hai kehna, hum chalte rahenge (It's their job to talk, we'll keep working hard)," he added.

Atanu, who will now face Services' Gurucharan Besra in the final on Thursday, revealed that his wife Deepika Kumari is on a similar break.

"Deepika is still enjoying her break. That is the reason she is missing out on the National Games. She will be back on field only in the next year," he said.

Representing his state West Bengal away from home during a festival like Durga Puja could be tough, but the Navratri vibes in Gujarat during his first trip to the state has kept the archer in check.

"Durga Puja is such a big festival for us Bengalis. But, the constant garba and Navratri vibes here mean that I do not miss it as much as I thought I would," Atanu said.

Top women recurve archers fail to impress

In the absence of Deepika Kumari and Ridhi Phor, the familiar faces of the Indian women's recurve archery team failed to impress in the individual competition.

The likes of Komalika Bari, Ankita Bhakat, Madhu Vedwan all suffered early exit at the Sanskardham Sports Complex on Monday.

It was the less experienced youngsters who stood out with Anshika Kumari Singh and Sangeeta to face off in the final, while Simranjeet Kaur and Avani will play the bronze medal contest.

Haryana dominates recurve team events

Haryana reached the final of both men's and women's recurve team event. They will face Services and Jharkhand in men's and women's gold medal match respectively.

On the other hand, hosts Gujarat made it to the bronze medal match in women's recurve team against Assam, while Jharkhand and Maharashtra will fight for gold in the men's section.

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