Published: August 24, 2018 3:55:37 pm
India’s struggling recurve archers were in for more shock with Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das suffering an upset defeat at the hands of lower-ranked Mongolia in the Asian Games at Jakarta via shootout. The 4-5 loss in the mixed team quarterfinals left the Indian squad shell-shocked as Deepika yet again floundered in pressure situation, finding a seven in the second shot of the shoot-off, which led to their ouster.
Meanwhile, India’s compound team of Abhishek Verma and Jyoti Surekaha moved to the quarterfinal with a 155-147 win over Iraq’s Fatima Saad Mahmood and Eshaq Ibrahim Mohammed. They will next take on Iran. Deepika, world number seven, and the 19th ranked Atanu were favourites against the Mongolians.
The team of Bishindee Urantungalag, ranked as low as 254 and Otgobbold Baatarkhuya, ranked 94 in the world, nosed ahead by taking the first set 2-0. The Indian team clawed its back by taking the next two but the Mongolians forced a shoot-off by snatching the fourth.
In the deciding shoot-off, both the teams found 10s in the first shot. The Mongolians found nine on the second while Deepika shot a seven. The defeat left Deepika shattered as she sat on the pavement outside the stadium, her hands covering her face in dejection.
Atanu tried hard to console his teammate and coach Sawaiyan Manjhi, too, offered words of consolation to Deepika. “We really don’t know what’s happening. These archers were hitting world class score in the practice. It’s just not translating in the competitions. She is completely distraught. She thinks the team lost because of her,” Manjhi, who himself looked distraught, told PTI.
“I also have to take the blame. I could not prepare my archers to be consistent. But it’s enough. We just cannot take excuses that ‘we could not hit’. We really need to do some soul-searching and find out what’s wrong. This team just won a World Cup. They are not bad but I really have no idea what strikes them in the multi-sport event,” Manjhi said.
The Indian recurve archers had a poor outing in the individual events as well, with only Atanu Das making the quarterfinals. Deepika had crashed out in the pre-quarterfinals. Both Atanu and Deepika now have team events to redeem some pride. “We lost and that’s it. They hit and we did not. I don’t know why and how because we don’t know,” said Das.
Atanu makes no excuse, differs with coach on disastrous show
Blaming himself for their disastrous outing at the Asian Games, Indian archer Atanu Das on Friday admitted that he has not been able to perform at the big stage despite having everything at his disposal.
The 26-year-old from Kolkata crashed out from both individual and mixed team recurve event at the Asian Games. He was the only Indian to reach the quarterfinals in the individual event but today lost in the first round in mixed event with Deepika Kumari.
While India’s coach Sawaiyan Manjhi had said the team did not come well prepared, Atanu called it a psychological issue. “Who said we have not come with best preparation. It’s not like this. We came here 4-5 days before and there is no problem. I don’t want to give any excuse. Something is missing and it keeps happening. Every time new mistakes come to fore,” Das told PTI in an interaction.
Asked to pinpoint the reason for his and recurve team’s poor show, Das said, “For me it’s psychological, I would say.” “When I need to hit 10, I am getting 9. Half a millimetre is making all the difference. And that’s the game. We are working hard to cover this gap. We do not come here to lose. Last Asian Games also I lost in quarter-finals. It hurts badly but I won’t give up until I achieve my objective.”
Atanu said he is not able to comprehend what is wrong with them. “If I knew exactly, I would not have suffered such results in the last two years. If I knew, I would have won a lot of medals. Everywhere, I am losing by just one point. I am trying to find out how to move forward to. I have got a clue but I won’t share it with you.”
While the other member of the team, Vishwas, said they struggle due to paucity of funds, Das chose not to use money as an excuse. “I have everything that I need but still performance is not up to mark.”
Like a true team person, Atanu refused to blame his teammate Deepika for today’s defeat in mixed event. Deepika shot a poor seven in shoot-off, which resulted in India’s defeat against lower-ranked Mongolia. “At the start, I also hit a six, I had just dropped that shot, it just came off may hands, so I won’t blame Deepika. It’s team event, so both are responsible not one individual.”
Asked if the team needs better coaching and if an expert from abroad would be able to lift the performance of Indian archers, Das said, “If there is only the tag of foreign coach, that won’t be enough. We need good training whether is comes from an Indian or a foreigner, it does not make a difference.” “I do not have any coach after 2013 and sometime I got to Korea for training with the help of SAI and OGQ.”
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