Rude behaviour from members of the electronic media marred the felicitation function of the gold-winning archers here on Tuesday with Deepika Kumari breaking into tears.
Deepika, the star of the Indian women’s recurve archery team that won the gold at the Wroclaw World Cup in Poland, along with Rimil Buruily and L. Bombayla Devi, was much in demand during the media interaction at the residence of Archery Association of India (AAI) president V.K. Malhotra.
However, things escalated when the TV channels demanded individual interviews and Deepika was left a distressed individual amidst a crowd of ‘admirers’.
The jetlagged archers arrived here on Tuesday morning en route the national camp at Aurangabad. Though there was no grand welcome arranged for them, several news channels gathered at the airport. Most managed to get sound bytes from all concerned.
Hungry for more, the news channels persisted with their relentless questioning at the felicitation and demanded one-on-one interviews. One cameraman followed every move of the archers, forcing Deepika to request him to move away even as she had breakfast with the team coach.
Instead of acceding to the request, the cameraman taunted the 18-year-old, saying Deepika should actually be grateful for such media coverage.
Unmindful of the affront — to a World Cup champion, ranked No. 2 in the world in her sport — the smiling trio of Deepika, Buruily and Bombayla obliged the interview requests patiently.
But with time running out and the team scheduled to fly out in the afternoon, they requested the remaining TV crew to conduct combined interviews instead.
That became a sore point with a couple of reporters insisting on ‘exclusive’ sound bytes.
Things went out of hand when a reporter accused Deepika of being arrogant by refusing to talk individually to everyone. That’s when Deepika broke down.
Wiping her tears, Deepika said she had not slept for more than 24 hours, had a headache because she had not eaten since morning and was rushing to catch a flight.
In no state to talk
The AAI officials tried to calm tempers and even attempted to get Deepika to continue with the interactions, but she was in no state to talk coherently. Immediately thereafter, the entire squad left the venue with Deepika requesting to be spared further humiliation even as the TV cameras kept rolling.