Deepika looking forward to Nationals

In the last edition of the national championship in Delhi, Deepika had qualified on top, but had failed to strike a medal.

Deepika Kumari has already qualified for the Rio Olympics next year.   -  THE HINDU

She is one of the best recognised face in Indian sports. She knows it pretty well, but ace archer Deepika Kumari still carries herself with a maturity beyond her age.

Having achieved remarkable success in the international arena, and having endured the bitter experience of not reaching the desired goal in the London Olympics, the 21-year-old Deepika has achieved a certain equanimity that is so rare.

There was clear evidence of it as she trained with a relaxed intensity, focusing on the target at 70 metres on which there was no printed sheet, but only a small piece of guidance white paper that she herself had pasted. Even as she kept training for the recurve section of the ongoing 36th National archery championship, Deepika posed with an enviable number of her fans, with admirable calm and cheer.

‘’It is the last competition of the season. The national championship is important’’, said Deepika, willing to strike a conversation even as she was busy mending her bow and arrows on Friday, for the challenge ahead.

In the last edition of the national championship in Delhi, Deepika had qualified on top, but had failed to strike a medal. Olympian Laishram Bombayla Devi had sprung to the gold then ahead of Rimil Buruily in the Olympic round. Deepika did win the mixed team gold with Jayanta Talukdar and the team gold for Jharkhand with Sitarani Tudu, Padyawati Sardar and Reena Kumari.

Of course, Deepika has bigger goals ahead in the World Cup Final. She has won the silver medal thrice from 2011 to 2013. ‘’I am also waiting for it’’, she quips, when queried about the possibility of her striking the gold in the World Cup Final to be staged in Mexico City on October 24 and 25.

On a more serious note, Deepika confides that she is happy with her training and calls it a ‘’very good preparation’’. As Mangal Singh Champia, the only Indian among the men to have qualified for the Rio Olympics so far said, every day was different. He was clear that there was no guarantee of victory for anyone, and he like the other archers was always trying to perform at the best.

‘’I don’t know how I will perform. Am looking forward to the competition’’, said Deepika, who has qualified for the Rio Olympics along with Rimil Buruily and Lakshmirani Majhi, by winning the team silver in the World Championship in Copenhagen.

Most of the leading archers arrived in the morning and had two sessions of training at the venue, which is a major hub of sports for the talented kids in the area with its swimming pool, indoor badminton hall, wrestling hall, boxing and weightlifting arena, apart from the field for track and field, all of which have been maintained with remarkable care and cleanliness.

No wonder Deepika had to pose with many fans, as the people were quite knowledgeable about her star

status and the power of bewitching smile.

With the cream of archers in town, and quite sharp as well, as they have all been in the national camp in Jamshedpur, it should be a cracker of a competition over the next two days.