Deepika Kumari: Have forgotten what happened in London

After a good run in 2015, when she won her fourth silver medal in the Archery World Cup final, Deepika Kumari is all geared up for the Games next year. In an exclusive interview to Sportstar, the archer talks of how she and her team are preparing for Rio.

Deepika Kumari during the Olympic Gold Quest media interaction in Chennai.   -  The Hindu

She had just turned 18 when she represented India in the 2012 London Olympics. Ahead of the Olympics, she was crowned World No. 1 and she entered the Games with plenty of expectations riding on her shoulders. However, fever and weather conditions did not support her and she lost in the opening round.

Deepika Kumari has come a long way since then. With age on her side, she has brushed away her past failures. As one of India’s biggest hopes in the hunt for medals at the 2016 Rio Olympics, Deepika is a lot confident than she has ever been. After a good run in 2015, when she won her fourth silver medal in the Archery World Cup final, Deepika is all geared up for the Games next year. In an exclusive interview to Sportstar, the archer talks of how she and her team are preparing for Rio.

How are the preparations for the Olympics coming along?

Preparations are going good. We are doing mental training. We are working hard and we have played a lot of tournaments this year. We have got to know the conditions in Rio too and we are using it in our mental training also.

How different will Rio be compared to London?

Rio is very different to London. The venue for our event is where the carnivals take place in Rio ( Sambadrome Marquês de Sapucaí). It is very different this time. Usually there is a stadium and this time there will not be one. We visited Rio and gathered knowledge about the place. We went and saw where the games are going to take place, where the crowd will be, the campus etc. We checked what the height will be from where we will be participating, and what colours they will be using. For example, usually they use green in the World Cup but this time they used purple. Colour plays an important part because due to the sunlight it can affect your sight. So all these things we went and checked out and they are helping us in our preparation for the Olympics.

What role will the weather play here? In London, wind was a major problem…

I have forgotten about what happened in London. Everybody has worked hard and is still working hard to make sure that I do well in 2016, and that is my focus. Whatever matches happened and whatever problems we faced, I do not want to remember all that now. Talking about the wind, India does not have so much of wind and the weather in Rio will be hot. I don’t think there will be any weather issue.

You missed out on an individual medal in the recently concluded Asian Championship. What went wrong?

The mindset for each and every tournament is different. There is a lot of difference between the Olympics and the Asian Championships. This was the final event for this year. There were many tournaments this year. So it was a little tight situation. The hectic schedule can really take a toll on our bodies. As a result, there was a little problem in the tournament. I was not able to pull back the string too much due to pain. Talking about Olympics, we are working on it. We are working on both physical and mental aspect and hopefully, we can overcome everything in time to give off our best in the Olympics.

Last time India went to the Olympics without an accredited physiotherapist. What about this time?

A masseur and a physiotherapist regularly travel with us. Hopefully, there will be a physiotherapist travelling with us to Rio.

Post 2012 Olympics, there was a request for a psychologist. Will a psychologist travel with the team this time?

Usually, psychologists do not travel with us and they mainly work with us in India. There are psychologists provided by the Olympic Gold Quest too. But mainly they have always worked with us in India only.

How big a threat will South Korea be in the Olympics?

They are very good archers. Competing with them can be difficult at times. However, we are working hard. We have defeated them in the past. I will be giving my 100 percent to make sure we perform well. That is all I can say.