Asian Games: Deepika Kumari crashes out despite strong start

Deepika began with a 27 and a 29 before her final shot in the third set, a six-pointer, upset the rhythm and from thereon, it was all downhill.

Deepika had come to Jakarta with a World Cup gold around her neck and a return to the top-10 in the world but the hopes ended prematurely.   -  PTI

Every time before a major multi-discipline competition, Deepika Kumari goes incommunicado.

It is not just about trying to focus on training but also to avoid the persistent questions about her dip in form and inability to break the jinx.

It continued on Thursday as the Word No. 7 crashed out in the pre-quarterfinals of the individual recurve event, losing 7-3 to Chinese Taipei’s Chien-Ying Lei despite a strong start.

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Deepika began with a 27 and a 29 before her final shot in the third set, a six-pointer, upset the rhythm and from thereon, it was all downhill.

Her defeat, along with that of Vishwas among the men, left Atanu Das as the lone Indian to advance to the quarterfinals in the individual recurve event.

Das, however, failed to move any further, losing 7-3 to Indonesian Riau Ega Agata 7-3.

“People keep saying it is Olympics or Asian Games but we try not to take that pressure. I don’t think there was any pressure but it just did not happen. I cannot explain,” Deepika said after her loss.

She had come to Jakarta with a World Cup gold around her neck and a return to the top-10 in the world but the hopes ended prematurely.

“I am disappointed more with myself. I had trained hard, come here prepared and wanted to get a medal desperately. I started well too but somehow, could not sustain the momentum and my form. I would not blame the conditions, the wind or weather, they were all fine and same for everyone,” she said.

She had landed in the city later than other archers due to fever and admitted participation was victory enough.

“I am disappointed yes but the fact that I even managed to come and participate is a big thing for me. I was not at my best in terms of fitness but it had to be done,” she said.

The physical fitness may have been a genuine reason but questions on her mental toughness continue, even though she now has a personal sports psychologist.

They would remain till she breaks the jinx.