Indian archer Deepika Kumari raised hopes of a good show in the Tokyo Olympics by grabbing a hat-trick of gold medals in India’s unprecedented sweep at the World Cup Stage 3 in Paris on Sunday.
The former world No 1, who has been India’s best medal bet in archery, had faltered in both her previous appearances but she is hoping to deliver this time, having gained experience.
“It’s very important to live in the present without thinking too much about the future. I just have 26 days left. That’s all. It’s about giving my best now,” Deepika told PTI from Paris after her stupendous performance.
Asked if her previous experiences would help, she said, “It helps but every match is different. I can’t say there will be less pressure this time. Everyone has a fear factor but it’s about handling the situation on the given day. I’m working on a few things mentally. It was about doing it right and executing well.”
All the 27-year-old wants is that she does not face any hurdles as she begins her final preparations. The athletes are required to undergo Covid-19 tests daily, seven days before leaving for the Games.
“We are not aware of the schedule yet, everything comes at the last minute. We have no issue with the testing, we just hope that our practice does not get hampered and there’s less distractions,” she said.
Deepika had secured her Tokyo Games ticket in 2019.
India on Sunday won the women’s individual, women’s team and mixed pair events with Deepika a constant in each of them, playing four back-to-back matches in less than five hours.
Just a week ago, the fancied Indian women’s archers faced a lot of flak for a shock opening round loss to Colombia to miss the Olympic team qualification.
“We were demoralised after losing to Colombia. It (the Olympic Qualifier) took all our energies so everyone was relaxed. Honestly, there was no pressure at all in the World Cup. We had nothing to lose, we just had to give our best and it helped,” she said.
The trio of Deepika, and the inexperienced duo of Ankita Bhakat and Komalika Bari defeated Mexico 5-1 without dropping a set to open India’s gold rush on the final day.
“Maybe we were over-focused (for the Olympic Qualifier). Sometimes it affects your performances. We made small mistakes and could not control,” she said.
Deepika boosted the team’s morale and told her teammates to look forward as the next Olympics would be round the corner.
“I just told them that we can learn from the mistakes, and work mentally. They have a lot of time left. Next Olympics is only in three years. It will feel, the Olympics will come anytime after this. So it’s better to get out of it and look forward, and prepare well for the next tournament,” Deepika said.
“It’s not that we had a cakewalk. They do give some tough competition so it was about dealing with yourself.”
Inputs from PTI