COVID-19: Confined to home, Deepika Kumari turns to cooking

“We should focus on staying safe and staying at home,” says Deepika.

The Olympics in 2021 will be Deepika’s third.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

There is no ‘bull’s eye’ to aim at for the time being and so archer Deepika Kumari doesn’t mind redirecting her attention towards cooking at home.

Deepika and Atanu Das have been engaged for about two years and initially wanted to focus on Tokyo Olympics before getting married. But with the Games deferred to 2021, the two may decide to get married sooner. “Chawal aur daal pakana aataa thaa. Ab non-veg banana sikh rahe hain. (I knew how to cook rice and daal but now I’m trying out some non-veg delicacies like chicken curry),” Deepika told PTI in an interaction here.

Deepika’s mother has been providing some “online tips” on how to prepare a chicken curry which she is often cooking. “My day starts off with Pranayam and visualisation practice for about 45 minutes. After breakfast, it’s time to learn some cooking,” she said.

Archery range

Archery, however, has not taken any backseat for the former World No. 1 as the two have made a five-metre range in the hall of their living room where they shoot for about two hours in the afternoon. It’s more of simulation than actual practice which is out of question until lockdown ends. “We shoot for about one-and-a-half to two hours by setting a target. It cannot compensate for the real shooting range. We practice as much as possible and just staying confined to our home.”

“The routine at least helps the body remember about the shooting, so that we are not completely out of touch when camp begins,” Deepika, who boasts of 23 World Cup medals, including five gold, said.

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A winner of two gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and an Asian Games bronze medal the same year, Deepika is eyeing her third Olympics stint after London 2012 and Rio 2016. Atanu, who made his Olympic debut in Rio, will be looking for his second. “The original idea was to focus completely on the Olympics and get married once it’s over. But now, with the postponement, we’re having second thoughts. We’ve been engaged for close to two years now. Maybe once the virus scenario eases, we might get married this year,” Atanu was quoted saying by ESPN.

‘Stay safe’

So far, India has secured Olympic quotas in the team category for men and the individual category for women, with both Atanu and Deepika part of the contingent. Deepika and her team-mates were eyeing a team quota from the World Cup stage III in Berlin, slated to be held from June 21-28, before the coronavirus pandemic halted all sporting events.

“I’m not thinking much about tournament and training now. The most important thing right now is about everyone’s safety and well-being. We should focus on staying safe and staying at home,” Deepika said.

Deepika was part of a 49-member sports group who interacted with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to raise awareness in the fight against COVID-19. “We can again get back to work or competition by staying safe. We all are just hoping that there’s a vaccine ready soon for the virus and everything returns to normalcy,” she signed off.