India’s ace archer Deepika Kumari will be one of the country’s top medal contenders at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
The 27-year-old archer will head into her third successive Olympics in red hot form as she bagged a hat-trick of gold medals at the Archery World Cup Stage 3 in Paris.
Deepika first teamed up with Ankita Bhakat and Komalika Bari to secure a gold in the women's recurve team event. After that, she combined with her husband Atanu Das to script a memorable comeback from 0-2 down to beat Netherlands’ Sjef van den Berg and Gabriela Schloesser 5-3 to clinch the gold medal in the mixed team event.
The Ranchi-born archer later resoundingly got the better 17th ranked Russian Elena Osipova 6-0 in the women's individual recurve event to win her third gold at the Archery World Cup 2021 in Paris.
"This is the first time I've won all three medals in a World Cup. I'm really happy but at the same time, I've to continue improving as we have some very, very important competitions lined up," Deepika was quoted as saying to news agency PTI.
Since turning pro in 2006, Deepika has bagged nine golds, 12 silvers and seven bronze medals in the World Cup.
With her dream run in the World Cup Stage 3, India’s star archer regained the top spot in the archery world rankings. Interestingly, the Ranchi archer had become World no. 1 in Women's Recurve Archery for the first time in 2012.
Deepika will be the sole entry in the women's archery section in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics after the Indian women’s recurve team failed to qualify for the Games.
She had lost in the opening round at the London 2012 Olympics and crashed out in the round of 16 of the Rio Olympics in 2016
India will hope that a more mature Deepika can help the country claim its first-ever Olympic medal in Archery.
The star archer will be in action in the women's individual recurve event and the mixed event with her husband Atanu.
How realistic are Deepika’s chances of winning a medal at Tokyo 2020?
In her impressive career so far, Deepika has bagged nine gold medals across several editions of the Archery World Cup. Furthermore, she has clinched gold in two of the three stages of the recently-concluded World Cup in Guatemala and Paris. However, an Olympic medal has always eluded her and that’s something she will be eager to change at Tokyo 2020.
Even though there are high chances of Deepika winning a medal at Tokyo 2020, it is by no means a foregone conclusion. The 27-year-old will face a stern test from the Korean duo of Kang Chae Young and An San, who had pulled out of both the stages of the World Cup.
Since the women’s individual event in archery was introduced at the Munich 1972 Olympics, the Koreans have clinched the gold medal in all eight editions of the Games. They will once again start as one of the favourites at Tokyo 2020. That said, considering the form and focus which Deepika has demonstrated of late, it will take a brave man to bet against her achieving Olympic glory.
Lest we forget, she is ranked World no.1 at the moment and will be brimming with confidence heading into Tokyo 2020 having enjoyed good preparations, competition and success ahead of the Games.
Featured photo: Twitter/WorldArchery