India’s shooting contingent at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics was thought of as potential medal contenders but things have not really fallen in place in the past few days. 

Both the individual qualification events as well as the mixed team event didn’t go according to plan and former archer Dola Banerjee, who represented India at two Olympics feels the team  fell short due to a variety of factors.

Dola, who represented India at the 2004 Athens and 2008 Beijing Olympics over the course of her career, spoke with SportsAdda in an exclusive chat. 

While discussing India’s underwhelming performances in the mixed team category featuring Deepika Kumari and Pravin Jadhav, Dola said, Our score in the mixed team performance wasn’t great in the quarter-final. We didn’t score as well as we should have even though Korea gave us some opportunities but we couldn’t seize them. In the next match, Korea put up a very good score though.

“Deepika could have done better since she is a very senior player as compared to Pravin who is making his maiden appearance in the Olympic Games. Luck also didn’t go our way. Every time, we happen to be unlucky when we go to the Olympics even though everyone is in form until then,” she added.

Talking about mental strength, Dola opined that it is of prime importance in a sport like shooting where there are various factors that could determine the outcome of a match.

“Mental strength is very important in shooting. You have a very limited time to shoot. 

You have to be mentally prepared and at the same time you also have to think on how to maintain the lead if you gain one or in case if you are behind, how do you recover the lost ground,” she said. 

Deepika still remains in contention for a medal at Tokyo in the individual event and Dola urged her to remain calm while in the heat of the action.

“There is hardly anything to be told to Deepika Kumari because she is so experienced, she has won so many tournaments and medals. All she needs to be is mentally strong and calm because the more normal she is, she would be able to shoot at her best. If you shoot well, your arrow automatically doesn’t go beyond the 9 or 10 marker,” she said.  

“The more we get tense, our heartbeats increase and that impacts the shooting. Remaining calm is the key. She doesn’t have any technical flaws as such,” Dola added.

World No. 1 Deepika will compete in a round of 16 elimination match in the women's individual event on Friday.

Featured photo: Deepika Kumari / Instagram