Atanu Das, Deepika Kumari in India’s six-member archery team for Tokyo

India finalised the squad for the Summer Olympics after the conclusion of the national trials in Pune.

By Utathya Nag

India’s archery couple Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari have confirmed their spots in the Indian contingent for the Tokyo Olympics, which begins in July this year.

Barring the two, the six-member team includes men’s recurve archers Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadhav as well as women’s recurve archers Ankita Bhakat and Komolika Bari.

The list was drawn up after the conclusion of the third and final selection trial for the Indian archery team for the Tokyo Olympics, which concluded on Monday at the Army Sports Institute in Pune.

The selection was done on the basis of a points system, which took into consideration the scores of the second trial held in November, the scores of the third trial and whether the archer had won an Olympic quota.

The shortlisted three men’s archers – Atanu Das, Pravin Jadhav and Tarundeep Rai – formed the recurve team that secured a full quota for Indian men’s archers at Tokyo after winning a silver medal at the 2019 Archery World Championships in the Netherlands.

Though they won the quota at a team event, it also made the Indian male archers eligible for participation in the men’s individual recurve event at the Summer Games.

Winning the quotas, however, didn’t guarantee them a spot in the final team. The three had to earn their slots through the national trials.

Pravin Jadhav topped the trial held on Monday and was also in first place overall once scores from both trials were added up. He will be participating in his maiden Olympics.

Atanu Das came second while Tarundeep Rai finished third overall.

Tarundeep is already a two-time Olympian, having represented India at the 2004 and 2012 Games. 

Atanu Das will be in his second Olympics after Rio 2016. 

“I am very happy with the way the trial went,” Atanu Das said. “I have gone through a long process between the 2016 Olympics to now and have realised that the mental aspect of the game is very important. 

“I am looking forward to performing at my best in both the individual and team events in Tokyo,” he added.

The women’s archers’ situation, though, isn’t as straightforward.

Deepika Kumari, who has already won an individual Olympic quota at the 2019 Asian Archery Championships, topped the final trial. Ankita Bhakat came second while Komolika Bari came overall third in the trials.

India, however, is yet to secure a quota place for the recurve team event. The recurve team of Deepika Kumari, Ankita Bhakat and Komolika Bari will get an opportunity to earn that place at the Final Team Qualification event scheduled to take place in Paris from June 18-21.

All three travelling to Tokyo will be subject to the trio bringing home the quota from Paris. Otherwise, Deepika will be the sole representative in the individual event.

This will be Deepika’s third Olympics after 2012 and 2016.