It was a great moment in Indian Archery as India No.1 in men’s Atanu Das finally bagged the Gold medal at the Archery World Cup recurve finals in Guatemala City. The Gold eluded Das for 13 long years as he finally broke the jinx ahead of the Summer Games.
Atanu’s wife Deepika Kumari also deserves a lot of credit for his success as her words of inspiration and higher feats pushed the 29-year-old even more to work hard. She motivated him to work harder and when it mattered, Atanu bagged the Gold medal defeating Spain’s World Cup debutant Daniel Castro.
It was a great day for Indian Archery as the Women’s team recurve bagged gold against Mexico followed up by a bronze by Ankita Bhakat and Atanu in the Mixed team recurve and then the couple bagged their individual Golds to put the cherries on top for the Indian archery fans.
This was Deepika’s first individual Gold after three years and team Gold since 2014. Watching Deepika perform her best at the highest level made Atanu train harder as he struggled to secure individual medals despite making his debut in 2008.
“Seeing her perform best at the highest level, sometimes, I would get mentally depressed to cope up.I would keep working hard and ask myself ‘when would my turn come?’,” Das said.
His last best performance came in the 2016 Antalya World Cup when he lost out in the Bronze medal playoff against Kim Woojin.
“I would feel bad that I’m not able to match her standards till now. Deepika would get really angry the moment she would see me upset,” he continued.
In the finals against Castro, Das was under pressure when the trailed 2-4 but then he stepped up with a 28 in the fourth set and things got better from there. He nailed three perfect bull’s eyes to clinch the Gold. He was ecstatic as he punched the air with joy as he remembered the inspirational words said by Deepika.
“She would always say ‘mera time pehle aaya hai, tera baad mein ayega (I peaked earlier, your time will also come. You just keep working hard,” he said.
Deepika has been a trailblazer in Indian Archery as he won the Commonwealth Games gold at the age of 15 and these are the achievements that motivated Atanu to push harder. He revealed that he would wonder her mental state and her methods of preparation.
“I would always wonder how she’s able to achieve so much from such a young age. What was her mental state, how did she prepare. All those questions would fill in my mind.
“It was about those small, small things which I’ve learnt from her. So it’s Deepika who has played most part in my first gold medal,” Das said, crediting Deepika for his maiden medal.