Picture by Justin Setterfield/ Getty Images

Atanu Das' Tokyo 2020 takeaway: Learn to deal with pressure and expectations

The Indian men's recurve team spearhead opens up on the pressure of expectations at Tokyo 2020.
By Samrat Chakraborty

India men's recurve team spearhead Atanu Das has shifted his focus on maintaining the right balance between archery and life beyond the range, after his experience at Tokyo 2020. He admitted that the pressure of expectations from his countrymen around the Olympics had an impact on his game.

Das believes that events like the World Cup, World Championships, Asian Games or Commonwealth Games (CWG) are also as important as the Olympics and pressure during those competitions will help him deal with it better when the Olympics come.

The 29-year-old archer was knocked out in the pre-quarters of men's individual event at Tokyo 2020, after he failed to overcome local favourite Takaharu Furukawa. He, incidentally, had knocked out London 2012 gold medallist Oh Jin Hyek in the previous round and was a part of the Indian men's team which was knocked out in the quarter-finals against eventual gold medallists South Korea.

"I think we, ourselves, should improve our mentally and shouldn't get affected by the outside pressure around the Olympics," Das told Olympics.com.

Atanu Das in the Men's Team quarterfinals in Tokyo
Picture by Getty Images

And Das decided to unwind with a trip to Ladakh after Tokyo 2020 with his wife and leading Indian women's archer Deepika Kumari and family.

"The trip was sort of unwinding because for the last few years we had left everything aside and just focused on preparation for Tokyo 2020," the ace archer said.

"We had sacrificed life beyond sports and given it our all to archery. So, at the end of the day, it feels like we have lost everything when the performance doesn't come out as per our expectations. That is why I'm trying to balance everything so that we don't take excessive pressure," he added.

The Tokyo 2020 experience has also taught Das to not take the game too seriously. However, he believes that he can add a few medals at Paris 2024 with a changed mindset.

"We shouldn't believe that the game is everything; it should be considered as a part of our life. I think we all are capable of clinching medals at the Olympics but then we become too serious during the mega event. I think that winning a medal at the Olympics should be normalized like many other countries do," Das said.

Das, meanwhile, is back in action at the Archery World Cup in Yankton, USA, which starts on September 29.