Picture by 2021 World Archery Federation

My third Olympic appearance in Tokyo will be different: Deepika Kumari

Deepika has grown with her experience and is expecting a better performance at her third Olympic appearance in Tokyo.
By Samrat Chakraborty

Star Indian archer Deepika Kumari is confident of delivering her best-ever performance at Tokyo 2020, slated to get underway from July 23.

Her performance at the previous Olympics' were not up to the mark as she lost to Amy Oliver of Great Britain in the opening round at London 2012, with fever and high winds cited as the primary reasons.

Later at Rio 2016, the women's recurve team consisting, Kumari, Bombayla Devi Laishram and Laxmirani Majhi lost in the quarter-finals against Russia.

"The (Tokyo) Olympics will be different for me. I'm learning how to control my thoughts. At the same time, I'm performing better," Kumari told World Archery, the world governing body for the sport.

Deepika Kumari won gold at the 2010 Commonwealth Games

The two-time Olympian, ahead of the Games, has put special focus on controlling her mind in pursuit of a medal at Tokyo 2020.

"Archery is all about your mind and thoughts. We have to know how to handle pressure, how to control the brain; my mind control, my thought control. That's the key in archery and sports," Kumari said.

Kumari is the leading women recurve archer in India. She had earned two gold medals (team and individual) at the beginning of the year at the World Cup Stage I and II to gain some momentum in the Olympics year.

Kumari was also expecting stiff competition from archery powerhouse South Korea, before the team pulled out of all the stages of the World Cup.

"Had they participated, there would have been a little more competition, but it doesn't matter for me. It's their decision. I want to play," Kumari said.

The Ranchi-archer was, however, all of 15 when she earned her first Commonwealth Games medal in 2010. And has travelled quite a distance to make a name for herself at the world archery stage.

"I didn't know anything at that time (2010 Commonwealth Games). I was so young. I was just enjoying the games. If I win, if I lose, it didn't matter for me. I wish I could go back to that, but in a different way; with my (current) experience, with my control," she said.

"You continue practising, practising, practising. But competitions give you pressure. You need to know how to handle pressure," she added.

Kumari will be the lone Indian woman recurve archer to represent the country at Tokyo 2020.