Tokyo Olympics: Mixed team best bet for archery medal | Tokyo Olympics News – Times of India

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KOLKATA: The first medals in Tokyo Olympics will be offered on Saturday and there is a good chance of India too opening their medal count on that day. A husband and wife working together in the same organisation is often not encouraged, but in a sport where coordination is of utmost importance, the couple of Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari remain India’s best bet to win their first Olympic medal in archery.
The mixed team format, which was added to the programme of the World Archery Championships in Turin 2011, is finally making its debut at the Olympics thereby raising the total number of medals up for grabs in the archery competitions at the Games to five this time.
The competition in the mixed event looks relatively easier as although pairs from 29 nations will take an aim at the starting line, only 16 will make the cut for the knockout phase of the event. Going by Atanu and Deepika’s recent form, making the last 16 should not be difficult. However, a good qualification will be very important as that could see them avoid some potential strong rivals early. A string of four wins will fetch the duo a gold medal from there. Even one less win could still get them a silver or a bronze.
However, the Indian pair, ranked seventh in the world, will face serious challenges from Korea, the Netherlands and others.
“Deepika and Atanu are both in good form, so we should have a good chance in the mixed. But it depends on the pool as well. The mixed event can be a bit more unpredictable,” the Dronacharya award-winning coach Purnima Mahato said recently.
Much will depend on Deepika who, in spite of being seen as a medal contender, had returned empty-handed from the two Olympics that she took part so far.
But into her third mega event, the Jharkhand archer has both experience and confidence under her belt. Like her first Olympics in London 2012, she will again step on the arena as the World No. 1 archer. Atanu and Deepika arrived at Tokyo on the back of a gold-medal winning show in World Cup Stage III in Paris last month.
“I’ve worked really hard mentally which is giving me a lot of positive results,” Deepika told World Archery after her first practice session at the Yumenoshima Ranking Field on Monday.
“I was left much behind at the last two Olympics, so I’m working on that and building my confidence with it,” she added.
It is here that her husband is likely to come as a help. Both practised together at the national camp in Pune and got to know each other better after getting married during the lockdown last year. Having Atanu, who will be taking part in his second Olympics, as teammate is likely to see Deepika shoot with much more ease.
Interestingly, it was Deepika who shot the last decisive arrow in Paris to fetch the gold in the mixed event. The whole country will hope that she will do an encore on Saturday too.

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