A seemingly refreshed Deepika Kumari has returned to the national team that will take part in the May 13 to 18 Stage 2 World Cup. This comes a month after she missed the World Cup in Shanghai, an event where the Indian archers drew a blank.
Around the world elite athletes return to their old coaches to weed out the flaws that silently creep into their technique. Deepika, in the middle of a slump, did exactly that. After being dropped from Team India, she spent time with her old coach Dharmendra Tiwary, who has been instrumental in polishing the talent of archers like Jayanta Talukdar, Bombayla Devi and Dola Banerjee at the famed Tata Archery Academy.
In fact, Deepika had been insistent on training with her old coach for sometime now. But it wasn’t easy to give the national camp a miss. Still, she insisted on having the comfort zone of a familiar training routine as she was confident that Tiwary would surely mend her. He didn’t disappoint as he found a major flaw that was responsible for the form slump of his old ward.
Deepika’s anchor position needed to be realigned. The fully drawn bow-string, just before it was released to fire the arrow, didn’t rest of the face as it once did. As a matter of habit, archers place the string on either their mouth, chin or nose. But a string of poor results can see the anchor position change. Early in her career, Deepika had faced a similar problem but Tiwary was at hand to point out the mistake and rectify the error. At the national camp, while dealing with self-doubt, Deepika mixed up her stance.
This isn’t the first time that a big-time player has returned to his old coach to revive floundering career. Virender Sehwag, while in the middle of a run-glut during the last decade, had returned to his trusted aide, A N Sharma. Going back to the basics had worked for him. Deepika will be hoping she too finds her form after the help from an old hand.
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Vinayak is a principal correspondent, based in New Delhi.