Deepika Kumari may reject all talk of pressure and nerves ahead of the London Olympics but the world number one archer’s coach is becoming restless as the mega event draws closer.
“As the day approaches, my heartbeat is getting faster. I am getting restless. I know I’m more nervous than Deepika, who is always calm and composed,” Tata Archery Academy chief coach Dharmendra Tiwary said of his 18-year-old protege.
At a Kolkata selection trial for the 2008 Youth World Championships in Kundu-Antalya (Turkey), Deepika, then just 13, had finished last — sixth.
Yet, Tiwary was keen to select her for the TAA and, as it turned out, Deepika, daughter of an autorickshaw driver in Ranchi, made the cut for the Turkey-bound squad, finishing sixth in the team event and 13th individually in the cadet group.
The next year, she won the same meet to become the cadet world champion; in 2010, Commonwealth Games winner; in 2011 junior world champion; and this year she became the world champion to be number one in FITA rankings released last month.
“In my 18 years coaching career, I’ve not seen a talent like her. She is a complete archer, be it in skill, physique or temperament,” Tiwary told PTI in an interview.
“An archer is known from the eyes. When I saw her at SAI Kolkata, I knew she has something to go all the way. Her technique was sound, while mentally she was very strong. “She has broad shoulders, which is very essential for an archer to have wide drawing length (before releasing the arrow).”
Tiwary vividly remembers May 1, 2008, the day Deepika joined TAA.
“Impressed by her, I spoke to Deepika’s then coach B.S. Rao (at the Arjun Academy in Sareikela-Kharsawan) and took her to the TAA. She joined on May 1, 2008,” Tiwary recollected.
Keywords: 2012 London Olympics