Deepika Kumari, the teenage archer from Jharkhand, will be one of the brightest medal prospects of India in the upcoming 2012 London Olympics. However, life was not always so bright for the girl.
Deepika was born in village 15 Kms from Ranchi, into a poor family. Her father, Mr. Shivnarayan Mahato is an auto-rickshaw driver and her mother, Mrs. Geeta Mahato, has been working as a nurse in the Ranchi Medical School for many years. According to her mother, Deepika never missed a mango hanging on a tree while aiming at it with a stone. From an early age, Deepika was attracted to the sport of archery. Her father was very upset with her as they couldn’t afford to buy her the equipment required for the sport. But that did not deter her determination. Deepika started making bows and arrows from bamboo and practised regularly.
She competed for the first time in 2005, when she entered the Arjun Archery Academy, an institute set up by Meera Munda, the wife of Jharkand Chief Minister Shri Arjun Munda. But her professional archery journey began in 2006, when she was taken by her cousin, Vidya Kumari, to TATA Archery Academy in Jamshedpur. From then on, Deepika started training with proper equipment and uniform. Deepika went back home after 3 years, winning the World Championship in 2009. During her free time, when her national training is not on, Deepika goes to KMCT College in Ranchi where she is a first year, studying arts.
Deepika is only the second Indian to win the World Championship. She also won the 11th Yourth World archery championship held in Ogden in USA in 2009. At the age of 16, Deepika won a gold medal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010. She has also been honoured with ‘the Outstanding Performance at CWG (Female) Award’ at the Sahara Sports Awards in 2010. In the recently concluded World Cup in Antalya, Turkey, she beat Korea’s Lee Sung Jin to win the title.
Deepika is currently world no. 3 in archery and a great medal prospect for India at the London Olypics. Tata steel has assured that they will give their full support to Deepika and that the great archer will not be devoid of any equipment or training required for the Olympics. With so many people backing her and counting on her, Deepika will definitely feel the responsibility on her shoulders to win for the country. But this will not bog down the young archer who has shifted her aim from mangoes on trees to medals at the London Olympics.
We are all by your side, Deepika. Go hit that Pinhole !!