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Deepika silver silences critics

Ace Deepika Kumari’s London Olympics debacle got a silver lining at the 2012 FITA Archery World Cup in Tokyo.

Deepika won silver in individual recurve on September 23, missing gold that went to arch rival Korean Bo Bae Ki.

Back in Jamshedpur with mentor Purnima Mahto, a visibly confident Deepika sported her trademark giggles while taking questions from newsmen at JRD Tata Sports Complex on Tuesday.

The ace archer said she shot with a “free mind” in Tokyo, unlike in the Olympics.

Meri galti thi ki gold jeet nahin payee. Thodi chook ho gayi (Not winning gold was my fault. I made a slight mistake),” she said. “But I’m learning from my mistakes. I’m learning from every tournament.”

At the London Olympics, it was widely said that wind blew away Deepika’s chances. It was raining in Tokyo too. But Deepika showed rare maturity when asked about it. “I don’t blame the elements. Conditions were same for my opponent. There’s no excuse,” said the girl recently appointed Tata Steel sports manager.

She also brushed aside questions related to pressure exerted by expectations. “It doesn’t affect my confidence or concentration. London is in my past. I need to grow in mental strength, play in as many tournaments as possible,” she said.

Tata Steel sports department head Captain Amitabh, present in the news meet with Deepika and Purnima, said the Tokyo silver was a fitting reply to Deepika’s detractors who had started writing her off after the Olympic debacle.

Deepika competed in three World Cup finals — Edinburgh (2010), Istanbul (2011) and now Tokyo. She drew a blank in Edinburgh and clinched silvers in the rest.