Tokyo 2020: India Off to a Disastrous Start as Deepika Kumari, Men's Archers Disappoint on Day 1
© REUTERS / CLODAGH KILCOYNETokyo 2020 Olympics - Archery - Women's Individual - Ranking Round - Yumenoshima Archery Field, Tokyo, Japan - July 23, 2021
© REUTERS / CLODAGH KILCOYNE
On Friday, the Summer Olympics kicked off with the men's and women's archery events in Tokyo. Last year, the Games were delayed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Tokyo Olympics will officially start with a grand opening ceremony at the National Stadium at 11:00 GMT.
India kickstarted its 2020 Olympic campaign on a terrible note with Women's World No. 1 archer Deepika Kumari finishing ninth in the Women's Individual Ranking Round on the opening day of the Games in the Japanese capital.
Top-ranked Deepika, who was expected to put up an exceptional performance in the individual ranking round after winning a hat-trick of gold medals at the Archery World Cup in Paris just before the Olympics, only managed a score of 663 after 12 tightly contested sets.
Deepika made a promising start in the first half, finishing fourth, but lost her way in the second half, initially dropping to seventh before earning a 7 with her final arrow to end the individual ranking round in ninth place.
South Korea's An San topped the list, setting a new Olympic record with a score of 680, while her countrywoman Jang Minhee finished second with a score of 677.
Deepika's past performances in the ranking round at the Olympics have been underwhelming as well. While Deepika debuted in 8th place in London, she finished 20th in Rio.
She will now square-off against Karma of Bhutan in Round 1 of the Women's Individual Recurve Event, which will start on 28 July at the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field in Tokyo.
Indian men's archers - Pravin Jadhav, Atanu Das, and Tarundeep Rai performed miserably to finish 31st, 35th, and 37th in the men's individual ranking round to conclude what was a day to forget for the country's archers.
While Jadhav secured a score of 656, Das ended the ranking round with a score of 653. Rai only managed a score of 652.
South Korea's Je Deok Kim topped the charts with a score of 688, six points ahead of the American Ellison Brady who scored 682.
Former archer and Arjuna award winner Sanjeeva Singh rated the performance of Indian archers as poor, before indicating that the pressure of the Olympics had caught up with them.
"The performance of our archers, including both Deepika and Atanu, is below our expectations. But I am still confident about their medal chances because it's just the start of the Olympics and they can always make a strong comeback in the subsequent rounds", Singh told Sputnik on Friday.
"There have been instances in the past, where archers who have finished 14th, 18th, and even 24th in the individual ranking round have won medals. We should keep cheering our archers, and not put unnecessary pressure on them because I am sure they will bounce back from this disappointment", he added.