My Fundays 01-12-2010

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By Deepika Kumari Still a teenager, this promising archer won gold medals in both the individual and team events at this year's Commonwealth Games. And At the recent Asian Games, she won a bronze in the team event AS TOLD TO DEEPALI SINGH
  • Published 1.12.10
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I was born in Ranchi, Jharkhand. I was very naughty and took delight in playing pranks. I like people to be happy. If I find anyone quiet, I’ll do anything to make that person talk and laugh and join in the fun. I remember how I once annoyed a classmate. We loved playing kabaddi. In kabaddi, we need a big group to form a team. We needed everyone to join. Some girls didn’t like to go out and play during the lunch break. One day, I pulled one of those girls out to play and was she angry!

It was in 2007 that I started training at the Seraikela-Kharsawan Archery Academy. It happened suddenly. I had gone to a cousin’s house during the summer vacation. She was already learning archery and the way she discussed the various details of it, I too became keen to learn it. She told me how I could contact the academy. I was called for a trial. But I didn’t get selected. I persisted. My parents met Meera Munda, who runs the academy, and said that if I didn’t do well in two or three months, they could throw me out. Once I was taken in, though, there was no looking back.

Initially my parents were amazed at my decision. No one from my family had taken to sports earlier. But I am stubborn. Once I decide on something, I do it. I did everything I could to convince them — even saying I won’t study if they didn’t send me to the academy — and they agreed.

I didn’t find it hard to stay away from home. In fact, I was excited about it. If you are always home, you get scolded for every mistake. If you are home only on holidays, even bigger mistakes are pardoned! I was also excited about the fact that my parents came to visit me loaded with my favourite sweets. During such visits, they took me for outings nearby and that was fun.

Towards the end of 2007, I shifted to an academy in Dugni and in 2008 I was selected at the Tata Archery Academy. We practised 8-9 hours daily. We were naughty, but only in our rooms. On the range, we were completely focussed on shooting. I loved the academy and the coaches. Sometimes, I would be tired but I knew I had to do it. I had my aims — to represent my state and country — and was ready for hard work. I aim to win at the Olympics too. Now, when I go home, I feel impatient to be on the range. I am now in college and at the academy, teachers come at night to give us lessons. I believe if you take little steps, you will reach your goal.

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