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‘No national coach, no planning,’ Atanu Das sums up Indian archers’ Tokyo 2020 flop

Indian archer Atanu Das lost 4-6 to Japan’s Takaharu Furukawa in the men’s individual pre-quarterfinals at Tokyo 2020 on Saturday as India’s Olympic campaign in archery ended on a disappointing note.

Atanu’s exit from the Tokyo Olympics marked the end of what was an underwhelming campaign for India in archery with none of the participants managing to live up to expectations.

World No. 1 Deepika Kumari, who a lot was expected from prior to Tokyo 2020, crashed out in the quarter-final stage in both the individual and the mixed team event with partner Pravin Jadhav.

Pravin Jadhav was ousted from the men’s singles event in the pre-quarterfinals. Three-time Olympian and 37-year-old veteran Tarundeep Rai also made his exit in the round of 16. The Indian archers didn’t fare much better in the men’s team event either, exiting in the quarter-finals.

After his pre-quarterfinals exit in the men’s individual event on Saturday, Atanu hinted that the archery contingent’s poor showing at Tokyo 2020 may not entirely be down to the archers.

“We got a coach only when we came to the camp after the pandemic,” Atanu told the media shortly after his pre-quarterfinals exit.

“(We have) no national coach or psychologist on a permanent basis. Things are improving but it takes time. We need to be strong and patient,” he added in what was a startling revelation.

Atanu also seemed to question the planning that takes place while conducting events by Indian Archery, the governing body of the sport in the country.

“We got to know in the middle of the Olympics that we have selection trials just two days after we reach India,” Atanu Das pointed out.

“We get orders from the top and we have to follow it. People talk about sports science but there has to be planning. I will go straight to Sonepat (from here). I last went home eight months ago,” Atanu claimed.

Atanu’s remarks have caused a stir and the Indian archer has since even gone on to deny making such comments in a tweet.

While it may be premature to jump to conclusions linking poor planning by Indian Archery to the Indian contingent’s poor performances at Tokyo 2020, Atanu’s comments will give rise to uncomfortable questions.

His latest tweet indicates that Atanu seems to be in damage limitation mode at the behest of higher authorities.

However, it’s safe to say that there’s no smoke without fire and this isn’t the last we hear from this developing story surrounding the Indian archery contingent’s acrimonious curtain fall at Tokyo 2020.

Featured photo: SAI

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