Deepika Kumari will be facing tremendous pressure as she steps into the archery arena at the Tokyo Olympics. The pressure, though, will not just be from her current opponents and other factors in the Japanese capital, but also from the past. She admitted that the failure to win medals in the last two Olympics will "play on her mind".
The 27-year-old from Ranchi is headed to the Japanese capital as World No, 1. She was the top archer in the world ahead of London 2012 as well, where she had a below par outing. Deepika could not live up to the expectation, and made a first-round exit. Rio Games was no different. She made a last 16 exit in the individual event and lost to Russia in the team quarterfinals in 2016.
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"I don't want a repeat anymore. It's past but yes, that will play on my mind and there will be some pressure on the back of my mind," she told PTI, a day before leaving for Tokyo.
"So, it's about trying my best to keep myself free of all those negative thoughts and take less pressure. It's about focusing just on my shooting."
Deepika attained the No 1 ranking after winning two individual World Cup gold medals this year.
"As the day nears and countdown begins, pressure builds up. So, it's about mentally tuning and how to keep calm and don't get unsettled," she said.
"I'm basically focusing on mind and technique, playing more individual and team matches rather than just practice."
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Deepika and her husband Atanu Das are India's medal hope in the mixed pair competition.
The duo will be the first Indian couple to take part in the same event in an Olympic Games.
Deepika said Atanu is now doubling up as "coach-mentor" as they chase India's elusive dream of winning first-ever Olympic medal in archery.
"He has become my full time coach these days. Atanu has been a big support, he keeps guiding me, motivating me. Of course, our team coach (Mim Bahadur Gurung Sir) is there, but Atanu's guidance is a constant support."
(With inputs from PTI)
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