Bangalore, Jul 9: India has never won an Olympic medal in archery. But the entire nation is hoping that this year is the best chance at London Olympics 2012. At 18, Deepika Kumari has given hopes for India.
Deepika is the current World number one archer. She climbed to the top of world rankings last month. Deepika is the second Indian to stay at the top after Dola Banerjee.
The teenager from Ranchi was a student of the Tata Archery Academy (TAA). She is the current junior world champion and also won gold in women's recurve individual event at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. She was also a part of the women's team recurve that won Commonwealth Games gold in Delhi.
Archery events at the London Olympics will be held at Lord's cricket ground, the "home of cricket."
"This is my first Olympics, but I don't have any pressure on me. I am confident of my game and I will give my 100 per cent to win a medal," Deepika said recently.
"I'm not that happy with the number one ranking, I mean it is okay but I will be happy only when we get a gold in the Olmypics," she added.
"I can't express what an Olympic medal means to me, it is my dream, my life. Ever since I became a sportsperson, I have been dreaming of an Olympic medal," she said.
On May 1, this year, she won her first World Cup title in recurve individual event in Antalya, Turkey. Deepika, the daughter of an auto-rickshaw driver, is a talented archer right from a young age.
She showed her huge potential at an early age of 12 in the National championships. Since then, her career graph has been on the upward swing.
Last year, she won World Cup Archery Stage 4 in Shanghai. Also in 2011, she won World Archery Youth Championships in Legnica, Poland. Her first major win at the youth world level came in 2009 when she triumphed at Youth Archery World Championships in Ogden, USA.
In 2010, she won two gold medals at Second Asian Grand Prix in Bangkok. She won individual recurve and was also in the winning team.
The right-handed archer is coached by Purnima Mahato and Dharmenda Tiwari.
"She is definitely our best bet in the women's section for a medal in the individual event. Her progress graph is impressive. In past two years, she has beaten some of the big names including the world champion Koreans," India coach Limba Ram was quoted as saying by PTI.
Purnima Mahato said, "Deepika is fearless, confident and stays cool under pressure cooker situation. We have strong hope on her."
Dola Banerjee, who went to two Olympics but faltered in her attempts, told The Hindu, "She is confident and technically well equipped. She is experienced and has done exceedingly well during the run-up to the Olympics. Unlike other international meets, Olympic Games are special. How well she will be able to handle the pressure during the competition will hold the key to her success."
Archery at London, Olympics commences on the first day of the Games, Jul 27.