Archer Deepika Kumari has taken her elevation to the World No 1 ranking as a routine happening, saying her focus now is on a podium finish at next month’s London Olympics. “It feels good to be No 1, but right now my teammates and I are concentrating on the London performance and we are training hard,” said Deepika, who is the first Indian archer to attain the top spot in FITA rankings.
Deepika’s coach Poornima Mahato said that her ward took the breaking news as a matter of fact without any visible celebration. “When I broke the news to her after seeing the latest rankings on World Archery site, Deepika was happy alright, but she did not want to get overly excited about it. All her focus now is on winning medals in the team as well as in individual events at the Olympics.”
The women’s team, which has already qualified for the Olympics, is back training in hot humid Kolkata after the monsoon rains drove them off from Gangtok. The 18-year-old World Cup winner was all praise for the facilities in Gangtok and said that she would have preferred to continue to practise there.
“The weather was really pleasant there. Unlike Kolkata, we could practice anytime we wanted. They took very good care of us. I wish we stayed back longer,” said Deepika.
Back in training
She, along with Laishram Bombayla Devi and Chekrovolu Swuro, is back training at the Sports Authority of India Centre in West Bengal’s capital after a fruitful 20-day stay in the Sikkim capital.
Deepika believes the medal chances are equal in the singles and team competition despite her recent World Cup triumph in Antalya, Turkey. “The World Cup win was big, but you can’t compare it with the Olympics. It is the ultimate thing for an athlete and so it is to me. The pressure is immense and I am clueless about the conditions at Lord’s. I heard it’s normally windy there so shooting will be tricky,” said the 2009 Cadet and Youth World Champion.
The women will face stiff competition from South Korea, China and Italy. The Indian trio had lost the title clash to Italy in the last World Championships. After Olympics, Deepika would like to complete her schooling on her return. “I have been wanting to complete my 12th exams for the past two years. My father is very keen on my education and that is the first thing I will focus on after coming back.”