Star couples in Indian sports are not very rare. Some of them are from the same sports such as Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap (badminton), Sakshi Malik and Satyawart Kadian (wrestling), Heena Sidhu and Ronak Pandit (shooting).
But a star Indian sports couple qualifying for the same Olympics and teaming up together for an event is something which is unique in the history of Indian sports. This rare feat has been achieved by the archery couple Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das.
They have both qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The couple will represent India not only in their respective individual events, but also as a team, in the newly-introduced Mixed Team Recurve event.
In this article, we take a look at what can be expected from this star couple in Tokyo and whether they have any chance of winning a medal.
Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das in superb form ahead of Tokyo Olympics
Deepika and Atanu are at present the best Indian archers in the women's and men's disciplines respectively and among the top archers in the world. Deepika is presently ranked No. 3 in the women's recurve event while Atanu is placed at 13th in men's recurve.
They will thus form a formidable pair at the mixed team event, where they will be one of the favorites to win the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
Atanu will be representing India in three archery events in Tokyo — Men's Individual Recurve, Men's Team Recurve (along with Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadav) and the Mixed Team Recurve (with Deepika Kumari).
Meanwhile, former World No. 1 Deepika Kumari has qualified for two events thus far — Women's Individual Recurve and the Mixed Team Recurve (with Atanu Das). If the women's team is able to make the cut in the last qualifying event in Paris on the 18th-19th June, then Deepika will also be participating in three events like her husband Atanu.
Both Atanu and Deepika are in excellent form ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. In the World Cup Stage 1 held in Guatamela City in April 2021, both Atanu and Deepika won gold in their respective individual recurve events.
As a result, Atanu had a huge improvement in his rankings, which jumped from 38th to 11th. Deepika also re-entered the top-3, as she climbed three spots in the world rankings.
If this star couple is able to replicate their World Cup Stage 1 form in Tokyo, then India will surely be getting their first-ever Olympic medal in archery. If they are on a roll, then even a gold medal is not out of reach.
However, the field will be very tough with all the best archers from Korea, (who were absent in the recent World Cup events) Chinese Taipei, China, USA and European countries present at Tokyo. So in order to win a medal, both Deepika and Atanu have to be very consistent and mentally strong throughout the tournament.