Indian archer Deepika Kumari clinched a gold medal in the Women's individual recurve event at the Archery World Cup Stage 3 in Paris. She regained the top position in global rankings by winning gold medals in three recurve events.
The 26-year-old Indian archer belong to Ratu Chati, a place near Ranchi in Jharkhand. Her father drove an auto-rickshaw for a living, and her mother worked as a nurse at the Ranchi Medical College.
While her mother always dreamed of Deepika becoming a doctor, the 11-year-old was fascinated at how life was at the Tata Archery Academy. Her cousin had enrolled in the same and used to tell her stories. Deepika started training with her using home apparatus and mangoes as targets.
Malnourished and deprived of opportunities, she walked into the academy to get admission. She was so determined to learn archery that she told the academy people that they could kick her out if she fails to get better in three months.
Bachpan se main zid karti thi, ki mujhe jaana hai, mujhe jaana hai, I stayed adamant until they relented.
While she could not get into the Tata Academy, she was directed to the Arjun Archery Academy. She was able to join the Tata Archery Academy within a year because of her exceptional performance.
It was here that she got to practice with the formal archery equipment for the first time.
At just 15, she won the 11th Youth World Archery Championships in the US in 2009 and clinched two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, two years later.
Deepika was India's top contender for gold in the 2012 London Olympics. She failed to clinch the medal. Her preparation did not stop and she won a few silver and bronze medals until Rio Olympics 2016.
The Arjuna awardee's failure at Rio made her a forgotten name for media, federation and everyone else.
A documentary named Ladies First was also filmed on her life story that won over 16 international awards. It is available on Netflix.
Deepika's latest win makes her India's top entry at the Tokyo Olympics scheduled next month and Indians are feeling really proud. Congratulatory messages are pouring in for her from all quarters.
And someone on my timeline commented we have no hopes in archery this Olympics. Those who don't follow sports closely often come here with half knowledge and comment on things so silly of them.— Ramesh (@Ramesh14079836) June 27, 2021
Outstanding performance by her. Class is permanent form is temporary !— Farzan Heerjee (@farzanheerjee) June 27, 2021
Jai ho! I can’t wait to see Deepika slice the centre of the target in Tokyo and walk away with Gold again. This is a sport I hope to see Indian women achieve complete domination of in the next decade... https://t.co/BFRcsAem8Y— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) June 27, 2021
Many congratulations to archer #DeepikaKumari on regaining the world no. 1 ranking in women’s individual recurve after her hat-trick of gold medals at the Archery World Cup. The whole country is proud of her incredible achievement! Wishing her very best for her future endeavours. pic.twitter.com/Xy4nnTVaT7— Praful Patel (@praful_patel) June 28, 2021
Here's wishing her all the best for upcoming events.