India has a decent track record of success in archery and Deepika Kumari may be the country's best hope for a medal at the pandemic-postponed Tokyo Olympics.
Currently ranked ninth in the world, Deepika will have a shot at earning a medal in the women's individual recurve event. She has represented India twice at the Olympics and is on the hunt to steal the show once more in Tokyo this year.
Qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics
Deepika bagged top honors in the women’s recurve event at the Olympic qualifying Asian Archery event in Bangkok in 2019. With three individual Olympic quotas on offer at the event, Deepika sealed a place in the women’s recurve individual category.
She will be desperate to reassert herself back in the game when she teams up with Ankita Bhakat and Komolika Bari at the final qualification tournament in Paris in June. The event will offer a last chance to the women's recurve team to earn a quota at the Tokyo Olympics.
Should Deepika finish on top at the qualifying event, she will be given a chance to compete in the mixed team alongside an Indian male archer with the highest score.
How Deepika fared at previous Olympic editions?
After a dismal outing at the previous Olympic editions in 2012 and 2016, Deepika hopes for a different result this time around.
She had entered as a favorite at the London Olympics in 2012. The women's recurve team, ranked second in the world, suffered a second-round loss at the hands of Denmark.
Deepika met a similar fate in the women's individual recurve event, losing to Amy Oliver of Great Britain in the opening round. She regained her lost form with a World Cup silver in Paris in 2013.
She managed to sail into the round 16 at the Rio Olympics. However, she bowed out after losing to Tan Ya-ting of Chinese Taipei by 0-6.
Analyzing Deepika's medal chances
According to World Archery statistics, Deepika's average score per throw is 9.07 with a best ranking round of 686. She has a 131-51 win-loss record in her career with a 72% winning rate. With an average throw of 9.05 under her belt, she achieved her career best ranking of No. 1 as on July 17, 2012.
Deepika was last seen in action at the Asian Continental qualifier in November 2019 where she won a gold medal. She had bagged silver at the Olympics test event in the same year, losing to An San of Korea. She had an impressive 18-5 win-loss record in 2019, paving the way for a 78% winning rate.
With a perfect amalgamation of experience and talent, Deepika has her work cut out for herself in Tokyo. Her overall statistics seem to suggest Deepika is a prime contender heading into the Tokyo Olympics.