Difficult task ahead for women archers to secure full quota at Olympics: Deepika Kumari

Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi:Ace archer Deepika Kumari feels that lack of competitions due to lockdown has made it tough for Indian women to secure full quote for next year’s Olympics.

The former world number 1 was of the view that women archers had worked really hard and were confident of fulfilling the quota but their preparations and hard work suffered a huge setback because COVID-19 lockdown.

Talking to paddler Mudit Dani in his online chat show ’In The Sportlight’ Deepika said that best chances of earning the full quote for next year’s Olympics is at stake with just one tournament to qualify from, and two spots to earn.

“We were completely blanked as qualifiers were in a month’s time when the lockdown happened, our practice was going really well but then suddenly we had no idea what to do. Right now, we only have one quota spot in the women’s category and only one qualifier is left to secure the two other quota places.

Normally we always secure a full quota by this period, but it is different this time around,” said the two-time world champion

Deepika, currently only Indian woman archer to have secured a spot at the Tokyo Games after winning gold at the Asian Continental Qualification Tournament in Bangkok last year, also recalled that despite being a two-time Olympian, she has never been part of an Games Opening Ceremony.

“In archery our ranking begins on the same day as the opening ceremony. So we feel sad that I have never been to any opening ceremony and have only watched it on TV,” Deepika said.

After failing to secure the team quota at the World Championships in June last year, the Indian women’s archery team will have their last shot to secure the full Olympics quota in Paris, as a separate tournament is planned ahead of the Archery World Cup in June next year.

The 26-year-old Ranchi girl, currently ranked ninth in the world, is part of the national camp which is training at the ASI in Pune.picked up the bow and arrow for the first time in 2007 and after that never looked back.


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