Focus on men’s team and Deepika’s performance

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Consistency will be the password for the lone woman qualifier as she has her own reputation to defend

India, unlike in Rio 2016, will not have a full house in Tokyo, what with only four archers making the grade. The absence of the women’s team will be felt greatly, which is inescapable as India will now take a shot in only four of the five events to be held.

The country is yet to win a medal in the sport at this level, though it has had a steady participation in the discipline since Seoul 1988. In Tokyo, the key focus, however, will be on the men’s team and the performance of Deepika Kumari, the lone woman qualifier.

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The talented Odisha archer, who has had her skills honed at the Jamshedpur-based Tata Sports Academy, is back as World No. 1. A lot is expected from Deepika as she shoots to a possible run for glory in her third Olympics. She was tipped to do well in both London 2012 and Rio four years later, but fared badly, going through her shots hurriedly and thus losing momentum.

This is the time for Deepika to make amends and prove her real worth as she will be in action in both the women’s recurve singles and the mixed pairs alongside Atanu Das — an event which has been included in the Games for the first time.

Hopefully, consistency will be Deepika’s password this time around as she has her own reputation to defend.

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Besides Atanu, the men’s team will comprise Tarundeep Rai and newcomer Pravin Jadhav. The latter was in great form in the trials in April as he surprisingly outscored both his seniors. While Atanu will be taking part in his second Games, it will three-in-a-row for veteran Tarundeep. The trio will be seen in action in the men’s team as also the individual event.

The competitions will be held from July 23 to July 31, but the first hurdle that the Indians will face will be the ranking rounds on the opening day. A good showing here will help them through a favourable draw thereafter.

But here again, there will be no room for any faux pas as a poor outing could spell doom to the chances of the Indian team.

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