Bullseye: Archer Deepika Kumari in action at JRD Tata Sports Complex. File picture
Ace archer Deepika Kumari’s sixth consecutive victory at the recently concluded 34th senior national archery championship at Jamshedpur has, yet again, thrown up a set of frequently asked questions.
How does Jharkhand’s golden girl hit bullseye in most competitions she participates in? How does she remain cool as a cucumber in crunch situations? What is the secret of her success in tournaments in India and abroad?
These and similar questions did the rounds as the 19-year-old whizzed to pocket as many as six gold medals, including one for being crowned national champion, at the much-coveted Jamshedpur meet.
Deepika’s mentors opine that its her strong will and focused attitude that help her perform with perfection and cruise to victory.
“Deepika is a class act when it comes to handling pressure situations. She seldom allows her concentration to waver,” said Lim Chae Woong, a highly-acclaimed archery coach from Korea who has trained Deepika at Tata Archery Academy.
Dronacharya award-winning coach Purnima Mahto, who has mentored Deepika from the beginning and is considered a key figure in her success story, feels her mental strength gives her an edge over contemporary archers.
“She is a cool character and believes in working hard. She takes disappointments in her stride and seldom allows pressure to affect her performance,” said Mahto.
Deepika, she added, was the best thing to happen to Indian archery.
“Archery is a sport where participants need to maintain high levels of concentration. Deepika is serious on the field and never takes her opponents lightly,” added Mahto.
Coach of Kiriburu-based SAIL Academy Rajendra Guiya, another seasoned mentor of the state, drew parallels between Team India cricket skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the other sporting sensation from Jharkhand, and the Golden Girl.
“Like Dhoni, Deepika keeps things simple. She has an uncluttered mind and believes in concentrating on the job at hand. Being so consistent at such a young age is quite amazing. I think Deepika will go on to shatter all records in women’s individual shooting,” said Guiya.
Deepika herself feels yoga and meditation help her keep a cool mind. She also unwinds herself with soft music and her Ipod accompanies her everywhere.
The Arjuna-award winning archer is also known to be a lively person, often cracking jokes with her peers. “I believe in giving my best. Pressure is always there in competitions but I try hard to handle it with a cool head. Yoga and meditation really help,” said Deepika.