Why are we all hoping for an Olympic medal from Deepika Kumari?
Deepika Kumari is just 26 years old but has been the flag-bearer of Indian archery for a long. She is still young, has loads of experience, has won medals at the biggest of stages, and is shooting arrows as good as she ever has.
32 medals combined at the World Cup stages and finals, five World Championships medals, six Asian Championship medals, two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and a bronze at Asian Games – this is how Deepika Kumari's decade long career in top-level archery looks like.
As can be seen from the number of medals, Deepika Kumari is undoubtedly the greatest archer to have emerged out of India. The only achievement which continues to evade an otherwise stellar career is an Olympic medal.
Deepika has so far competed in two Olympics – the 2012 Games in London and the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. While she exited in the very first round at London, she reached the round of 16 in Rio before crashing out in the individual events. The team event was not anything to be proud of either, exiting in the round of 16 and quarterfinals in 2012 and 2016, respectively.
Since she first shot to prominence, winning the World Cadet Championship in 2009, Deepika has time and again proved how good an archer she is. She was even ranked World Number 1 after winning the gold medal at the Archery World Cup held in Antalya, Turkey, just before the 2012 London Olympics. Besides, she also held the joint world record score of 686/720 along with South Korean Ki Bo-bae prior to the Rio Games.
Ever since her first major international medal during the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Deepika has been one of the most consistent archers in the world. The medal tally she boasts of is a testament to that.
Now, as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics approaches, Deepika seems to be on the top of her game yet again. If the recently concluded Archery World Cup Stage 1 in Guatemala is anything to go by, the Indian would surely start as a medal contender in Tokyo.
But, it is by no means going to be easy. As mentioned earlier, Deepika has a history of choking at the Olympics, and she will face tough competition from the likes of South Koreans Kang Chae-young and An San, Chinese Taipei's Tan Ya-Ting, China's Zheng Yichai and the Japanese Sugimoto Tomomi in women's individuals.
Besides the individual events, Deepika is also expected to be seen competing in the Mixed Recurve event alongside her husband, Atanu Das. The duo has put up some very consistent performances ever since they started competing together and are currently ranked 14th in the world with a good shot at a podium finish at Tokyo.
Deepika Kumari is just 26 years old but has been the flag-bearer of Indian archery for a long. She is still young, has loads of experience, has won medals at the biggest of stages, and is shooting arrows as good as she ever has. Does one need to have any more reason to expect an Olympic medal from her?