Veteran archer Tarundeep Rai has been a household name in Indian in his respective sport. He has been a phenom winning World Championships and several other events but he is yet to taste the Olympics success.
Tarundeep finished 43rd in the 2004 Olympics in the Men’s Individual Archery event followed by an eleventh place finish in the team event. In 2012 Olympics he was also a part of the Indian Men’s team which finished in the twelfth spot.
The Tokyo Olympics will be the veteran’s swansong as he has already secured his place in the Men’s’ Individual recurve event. He feels that this is his best chance to bag a medal.
“I don’t have an Olympic medal but have won the rest. So now, the focus is totally on the Olympics,” Rai said in an interview with the Olympic Channel.
“Tokyo 2020 will probably be my last Olympics. I want to come through on my country’s, and my own, expectations. This time I have worked hard for a medal and I believe I have a chance.”
Tarundeep belongs to the Sino Tibetan ethnic group who are known as Kirati. The veteran archer knows that Olympic glory will lift his community and will also give them the motivation to follow their dreams in future.
“I play for the country and don’t try to be an example for the Kirati community specifically,” he said.
“Even if I want to do something for them, I have to achieve my goal of winning an Olympic medal. In our country, without an Olympic medal, it is very difficult to do something for your community, even if you want. If I win this I take the entire country in archery ahead.”
Apart from the Olympics, he is also on the shortlist of the selection trials for the World Cup. He added “Our main target is the Tokyo Olympics but before that, there are three World Cup (stages) which we are considering like a milestone.
“The team travelling to Tokyo will compete at this World Cup and the benefit is whether we perform well or not, we can work on our mistakes. A lot of us might be rusty because we have not participated in competitions for a long time.”
The 36-year old will be back in action at the Archery World Cup. The first stage of the particular tournament will be held in Guatemala City from April 19-25.