Deepika Kumari comes of age on big stage

first_imgTwo years ago, not many would have heard of Deepika Kumari, and would not have thought that the teenage archer from Jharkhand will be one of India’s brightest medal prospects at the London Games.But the archer, who turns 18 on Wednesday, has matured considerably over the last 18 months and is looking forward to her first Olympics.”Life has changed a lot for me over the last two years. People’s expectations from me have also risen. But I try not to think about the recognition and the stardom that comes with it,” Deepika told Mail Today from Ranchi on Tuesday.”It has always been my dream to represent India and I will do my best to get India a medal in London. I am very excited at the prospect of my first Olympics, as there are some who have to wait 10 or 12 years for that opportunity.”With the Olympics just six weeks away, there is very little time to rest but Deepika is making an exception for her birthday.”It will just be a one-day break on which I will celebrate my birthday with my parents at home. After that, it will be back to training in Kolkata,” she said.After winning two gold medals at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games, Deepika has been a regular feature in the later stages of major international tournaments. Her first World Cup gold medal at Antalya, Turkey, came at just the right time.”I have been pretty consistent recently. The World Cup gold in a strong field was a major boost to my confidence. The conditions at Antalya were pretty similar to the ones we are likely to face in London with swirling winds,” Deepika said, adding that the Indians will land in the British capital well in advance to acclimatise to conditions there.advertisementThe month-long stint in Gangtok recently also helped the Indian archers get used to the cooler conditions.Deepika said she is not putting any extra pressure on herself thinking about the Olympics.”I don’t know the meaning of the word pressure. My coaches, too, tell me to treat the Olympics as just another tournament.”Archery is a very unpredictable sport. All matches are one-on-one contests and rankings are not that relevant. One can only prepare to give one’s best,” she felt.Deepika will be in action in the individual and team events, where she will team up with Laishram Bombayla Devi and Chekrovolu Swuro. They have not gone for the World Cup Stage III at Ogden in the United States, where the Indian men’s team is trying to qualify for the Olympics.”We had planned our preparation programme with the Antalya World Cup as our last competitive event. It would have taken a lot of time to travel all the way to Ogden and it was not worth it once we had qualified.”It was much more useful to stay back in India and continue our training,” the archer said.”The team has been in good form over the last several months and we have a good chance of winning a medal.”As the Olympics approach, the archers are keeping it simple as far as their training regime is concerned.”We are just giving finishing touches to our preparation. We are focusing on our techniques and correcting the mistakes that may cost us on the big stage,” Deepika said.last_img

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