Focused on qualifying for Tokyo: Deepika Kumari

India’s ace archer Deepika Kumari.

Q. The Covid-19 lockdown has impacted all spheres of life. How are you coping with it?

A. Yoga and meditation are a regular part of my day, though physical activities have been severely hit. We (with husband Atanu Das) are practising at a makeshift range of 10m at our residence. It’s okay, but it is far from the real feel of the ground. Thankfully, our national coaching camp is going to begin on 25 August in Pune. So, I will be back in the field and I am very excited about it.

 Q. How are you interacting with your coaches nowadays?

 A. Sadly, I am practising without a coach. I am focusing on technical aspects, watching past videos, studying, and correcting mistakes.

 Q. How are you assessing India’s chances for a medal from Tokyo 2020 in archery?

A. Well, we still 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.

Q. How do you see 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 Taipei, all of them are excellent archers. I have to focus on myself and try to deliver my best.

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

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

Q. Can you please tell us what went wrong in London in 2012?

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 numerous 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?

A. The condition of my family was not good. So I thought of doing something to support my family. One of my cousins perused me to move towards the game of bow and arrow. I was 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.

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. Continuous release of an 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 realised it.

Q. What would you like to suggest for making archery among the top three games in the nation?

A. First, 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 11. Level of facilities at centres, training, coaching, dedication, etc, should