Deepika,the special one

18-year-old archer plays down her ascendency to the top of the world ranking

Written by Vinayak Padmadeo | New Delhi | Published: June 21, 2012 1:11:36 am

A day after turning 18 last Wednesday,archer Deepika Kumari accomplished a rare feat hitherto unknown to her till Wednesday. When the world archery body updated their rankings,Deepika was placed at No.1,ahead of South Korea’s Bo Bae Ki.

Deepika became the second woman archer from India after Dola Banerjee and third overall — Jayanta Banerjee was No.1 in 2008 — to achieve the top ranking. Her new status in the world of archery was kept a secret from Deepika.

Her coach and mentor Poornima Mahto didn’t want the young archer to feel any added pressure by revealing her No.1 ranking with just over a month to go for the London Games. “Already the expectations from her are sky-high and the news of her ranking could have made her nervous. So we did not tell her on purpose,” Mahto said explaining the reason for keeping the good news away from Deepika.

The coaching staff too chanced up on the updated ranking when they were in process of filling the information brochure sent to them by the London Olympic Games organisers. When Mahto logged into the archery world body’s website to fill in the ranking column in the information brochure,the coach was pleasantly surprised to realise that the Indian had gone past one of her main competitiors.

“This would be her first Olympics and we need to do everything right in order for her to maintain her focus. She has become the new No.1 but that does not automatically guarantee her gold at London. I hope she is able to handle the pressure of expectations,” Mahto added.

When informed about her top ranking,Deepika said,“Are you sure? Because I didn’t know about this. But it doesn’t change anything for me. It is good that I am No.1 now,but I am not getting ahead of myself. I still need to shoot 450 arrows daily in practice,” she said adding that she never bothered about her rankings and is more focussed on winning a team and individual medal in London.

Previously at No.3,Deepika’s maiden gold-medal winning feat at the Archery World Cup Stage 2 in Antalya,Turkey,helped her close in on the top ranking. Currently she has a total of 253.800 ranking points,which is well ahead of the Korean’s total of 239.400.

Indian men finish third

Rahul Banerjee,whose equipment was misplaced during transit,helped the India men’s recurve team finish third in the qualifications for the final Olympic qualifying tournament being held in Ogden,USA.

The men’s recurve team,including Banerjee,Jayanta Talukdar and Tarundeep Rai had a combined total of 1,938 points — four points behind toppers Chinese Taipei. Russia (1,940) finished second.

Braving cold and breezy conditions with temperature in the range of 14 degree celsius,Talukdar shot a fine 653,followed by Rai (643) and Banerjee to finish 14th,34th and 35th positions respectively in the individual ranking rounds of the World Cup.

India will take on Norway in the first round of the 16-team draw,while in the quarters they will meet the winners of the Canada-The Netherlands match. This is the last qualifying tournament for the archers for next month’s Olympics. The top-three teams earn the Olympic quotas.

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