Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Acceptance is very important: Deepika Kumari

Deepika Kumari’s name needs no introduction. Former World number one is one of the best female archers from the nation. Recently, Padma Shree and Arjuna Award winner archer spared some moments for us. She spoke on a range of topics from her residence in Kolkata. Here are the highlights of the chat –

Q: The COVID lockdown has impacted all spheres of life. Naturally, you must be feeling the same. Tell us, how are you coping with it?

A: Yes, without an iota of doubt it has impacted all of us. Yoga and meditation are a regular part of my day. Except for it, physical activities have been severely hit. We (with husband Atanu Das) are doing practice at a makeshift range of 10 meters at our residence. It’s Ok, but it is far from the real feel of the ground. Thankfully, our national coaching camp is going to begin on the 25th of August in Pune. So, I will be back in the field and I am very excited about it.

Q: How are you seeking guidance from the coaches nowadays?

A: Sadly, these days I am making up without a coach. I am focusing on technical aspects, watching past videos, studying, and correcting mistakes.

Q: Where you were when the lockdown was announced?

A: We were in Pune at that time. We landed in Kolkata on 23rd. We are here since then. In between, I also went to Ranchi.

Q: How are you assessing Indian chances for a medal from Tokyo 2020 in archery?

A: Well, still we have to earn 2 places for the team. The qualifier is in our minds. Currently, the team is focusing on qualifying which is going to be very tough.

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Q: How are you assessing your competitors in Tokyo?

A: Well, archery is a game that relies on just a hit or just a miss. All the archers that I am going to meet at the Japanese capital are on par. The Koreans, Chinese, Chinese Taipai, all of them are excellent archers. I have to focus on myself and try to deliver my best.

Q: 2 silvers in World Championship. So near, yet so far. Please tell us something about this bitter memory?

A: A little mistake and everything slips in archery. I am continuing afresh and practising hard again to turn it to gold.

Q: In many interviews in the past, you have praised Tata Archery Academy. You even said that it was like a dream came true. Can you please elaborate?

A: I joined Tata Academy in 2008. From here, I started participating in International meets. It’s an excellent place for any archer. The facilities, coaches, environment of learning are outstanding.

Q: Now, I am taking you back to London in 2012. You were World number 1 and at the peak of your career. All were expecting nothing less than a Gold from you at that time. Suddenly, all went wrong and you lost shockingly against much lower archer Amy Oliver of UK. Can you please tell us what went wrong?

A: To be honest, I feel that pressure overpowered me. I was very young at that time. I also had a bout of viral fever. I was going through a lot of weakness in body and mind. The schedule was very hectic. So, I lost focus.

Q: You have won umpteen number of medals around the world. I know it’s tough to pick. What has been the happiest moment of your career so far?

A: I have enjoyed so many moments so far. It is tough to choose from. Well, qualifying for the 2012 World Championship bought many laurels.

Q: What propelled you to make a career in Archery only?

A: My family condition was not good. So I thought to do something to support my family. One of my cousins perused me to move towards the game of bow and arrow. I engrossed in it. I joined the Seraikela Archery Academy. Success started to arrive. Later I moved to Jamshedpur in 2008. From there, my talent got new wings.

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Q: You must be doing a lot of physical exercises to remain fit for the game?

A: Yes. There is a misconception that archery is a game where you need no workout. On the other hand, it’s a very physically demanding game. Your shoulders, back, legs have to be strong. Your body must be stable at the time of the throw of the arrow. Continuous release of arrow leaves a heavy toll on the body. Stretching is also very challenging. So, I pay attention to be in the best shape for the game.

Q: What did you like about archery the most?

A: It improves your level of concentration and focuses manifold. Ultimately, these qualities excel in any aspect of life. I have realized it.

Q: What would you like to suggest making Archery among the top three games in the nation?

A: Firstly, it should reach as many people as possible. More and more competitions will be an added advantage. Many regard it as a boring game. On the contrary, it is quite alive. Now it has lucrative jobs and a lot of money. Government schemes have helped a lot. We should engage kids in the game at the age of around 11. Level of facilities at centers, training, coaching, dedication, etc should exhibit a rise.

Q: In this depressing time, what is your message to your fans?

A: Acceptance is very important in life. We must be hard enough to face reality. Once we befriend it, depression will be at bay. Our actions will change. No doubt, life came to a halt due to pandemic. We should shrug off all the negativity. Safety from the disease is important. Follow the guidelines. Spend time with family. Now, slowly things are changing. Remain positive.

After noting these inspirational words, I thanked ace archer for giving her valuable time for us.

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