Due to COVID-19 restrictions, there are no spectators at Yumenoshima Park Archery Field, but India’s Atanu Das still has his number one fan: his wife, fellow archer Deepika Kumari. Das’ ardent fan base undoubtedly aided him on Thursday, when he defeated South Korean Olympic champion Oh Jin-hyek in the individual elimination rounds.
“Excellent work! Confidence!” Deepika Kumari yelled to her husband, the lone voice of support in a stand where a dozen Korean staff and team members tried to convince Oh to win.
Deepika Kumari, the world number one, is also a medal contender for India after reaching the round of eight in the women’s individual event. “I was hearing her the whole time, and she was pushing me up and telling me to believe in myself,” Das told Reuters, displaying his two rings – a wedding ring and an Olympic ring.
Atanu Das stated that he and Deepika Kumari, who married in a low-key ceremony in July of last year, are staying in separate rooms in the Athletes’ Village but train together and spend most of their time together. They did not compete in the mixed team competition, with Kumari and Pravin Jadhav losing in the quarter-finals to South Korea.
Das believes they could have won if they had teamed up. “I expected a mixed team, but…” he explained.
On Saturday, Atanu Das will face Takaharu Furukawa of Japan for a place in the individual competition quarter-finals. “My message to India is to please pray for and encourage us. “We will do our best and move forward,” Das said.