Deepak Kumar produced a late surge to steal a silver in the men’s 10m rifle event at the Asian Games, giving the shooting contingent its second medal at the ongoing continental championships.
China’s defending champion Yang Haoran was a cut above the rest, winning the gold with an aggregate of 249.1.
Deepak, who was not in the race for a medal until the 18th shot when he produced a perfect 10.9, earned his maiden Asian Games medal with a final score of 247.7, pushing Taipei’s Lu Shaochuan to third with 226.8 in the 24-shot final.
Here’s more about India’s first silver medal winner at the 18th Asian Games.
Date of Birth: November 5, 1987
Event at Asian Games: men’s 10m air rifle
Past performance (if any): N/A
Best performance so far: Bronze, Commonwealth Championship in 2017
Brief Description: Deepak Kumar has been the most consistent 10m air rifle shooter after Ravi Kumar in the last year.
In 2017, he claimed a bronze medal in the 10m air rifle at Commonwealth Shooting Championships in Brisbane. He won his first ISSF World Cup medal in 2018, when he won the mixed team bronze with Mehuli Ghosh in Mexico. The pair, competing as India’s second team, shot 435.1 in the five team final to make the podium.
He narrowly missed out on an individual medal at the same World Cup, losing the bronze medal shoot-off to Ravi Kumar. He also got the bronze at the 18th KSS Memorial Shooting Championship in June 2018. At the Commonwealth Games, Deepak Kumar finished sixth in the final, after topping the qualification standings with a Games record of 627.2.
Giving a peek into his state of mind while he was trailing for major part of the finals, Deepak said he just thought about what his coach Manoj Kumar would say.
“I was trailing also in the qualification. I just thought about his words. He often says ‘you have the potential and you know your limits’. Starting was not good, the middle was worse. So I just tried to stay calm,” the 30-year-old told PTI.
Asked how he felt beating his friend and Air Force roommate Ravi, he had a philosophical take: “We don’t think on those lines when you are shooting. We are close friends and spend a lot of time together. But it is an individual sport.”
Deepak broke into the Indian team only last year, having picked up shooting back in 2004. However, Deepak sees this medal only as the beginning.
“Everyone keeps thinking about what they will get. I believe in spreading whatever I have learnt from my days in Gurukul. You eventually get your due. There is not point feeling sad about anything. Life is short,” said the spiritual shooter.
Deepak’s parents sent him to Gurukul Academeny in Dehradun for his schooling. He is a Sanskrit expert and tries to spread all values he has learnt at Gurukul.
“I am what I am because of Gurukul. It has taught me the true values of life. My parents sent me away from Delhi because they did not want me to study in a city environment,” he added.