DEEPIKA KUMARI, 18
INDIVIDUAL AND TEAM RECURVE Ranchi, Jharkhand
HER STORY Shooting stones at mangoes as a child, Deepika Kumari, who grew up in Jharkhand’s Ratu Chati village, about 15 km from Ranchi, decided to pursue sport at a young age. Her father Shivnarayan Mahato, an auto- rickshaw driver, supported her despite his limited means. In 2005, he borrowed a motorcy- cle to take her for trials at the Arjun Archery Academy, Kharsawa. The effort paid off when she clinched gold and became the talking point of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Deepika edged out Lee Sung Jin, the 2004 Athens Olympics gold medallist, in the final of this year’s World Cup in Antalya, Turkey. Coached by Poornima Mahato at the Tata Archery Academy in Jamshedpur, she follows an eight- hour practice session daily, coupled with mental exer-
“India has a very strong archery team this time. But the Olympics is every country’s goal. We aren’t the only ones with an improved team. Apart from Korea and China, we are expecting newer and fiercer competitors.”
cises. In her free time, she tunes into songs by her favourite artist, Shaan.
VANTAGE POINT Kumari never looks at the scoreboard, so doesn’t feel the pressure of tumbling in the initial rounds.
CHALLENGE AHEAD A recent illness has made her weak and reduced her ability to shoot against the wind.
OLYMPIC RUN- UP She earned two golds at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in the individual and the recurve team event. Later that year, she partnered Rimil Buriuly and Dola Banerjee to earn a podium finish at the Asian Games. This year’s World Cup victory has bumped her up to the World No. 1 spot.
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