Deepika Kumari: One of India’s strongest Olympics medal contenders

Archer Deepika Kumari Mahato will enter the Tokyo Olympics as the world No.1 in the women’s recurve category.  The 27 year old decorated archer befitted as the first female archer in global ranking following her hat-trick, stage 3 at the Paris World Cup.

Deepika Kumari, India’s best medal hopes in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, born in Ranchi to Shivnarayan Mahato, an auto-rickshaw driver and her mother Geeta Mahato, a nurse at Ranchi Medical College. As a child, she practised archery while aiming for mangoes with stones. She started her practice with bamboo made bows and arrows. Deepika got her first breakthrough in 2005 when she entered Arjun Archery Academy in the state. But her professional archery journey begun in the year 2006 when she joined she joined the Tata Archery Academy in Jamshedpur. She told in interviews that her cousin Vidya Kumari, then an archer residing at Tata Archery Academy, helped her to develop her talent.

She got married to the India number one Atanu in June 2020 after a two-year courtship.

Deepika became the second Indian to win the title after Palton Hansda won the junior compound competition at the 2006 Archery World Cup in Mérida, Mexico. She won the 11th Youth World Archery Championship held in Ogden, Utah, United States in 2009, at the age of fifteen. She also won a gold medal in the same competition in the women’s team recurve event, alongside Dola Banerjee and Bombayala Devi.

Deepika had became only the second Indian woman after Dola Banerjee to grab the numero uno status in June, 2012 after claiming her first individual recurve World Cup gold medal at Antalya, Turkey. She defeated Korea’s Lee Sung Jin by six set points to four in the final of the Stage 2 of the Championship. 

She has won multiple medals in the World Cup Stages, World Cup finals, World Championships, Asian Championships, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. Overall, Deepika has nine gold, 12 silver and seven bronze medals at World Cups.

For her achievements, Deepika has bestowed with the Arjuna Award in 2012, the FICCI Sportsperson of the Year Award in 2014 and the Padma Shri Award in 2016.

Deepika made it the third round at Rio 2016 Olympics, finishing ninth overall.

In Olympics 2021, Kumari, first combined with Ankita Bhakat and Komalika Bari to notch up the women’s recurve team gold with a comfortable win over Mexico.

India’s ace archer Deepika triumphs over the Russian, Elena Osipova by 6-0 in a thumping manner. She has won the gold medal in the Second Individual World Cup of 2021 and third of the day as she had earlier won gold in Women’s team and mixed team event.

“This is going to take Deepika to the number one spot in the world rankings on Monday,” World Archery had tweeted on its official handle after Deepika’s gold rush.

“This is the first time I’ve won all three medals in a World Cup. I’m really happy but at the same time, I’ve to continue improving as we have some very, very important competitions lined up,” Deepika had told PTI after her triumphs.

She thus recorded the 13th triple gold and became the 11th archer to achieve the feat – in the 15-year history of the Hyundai Archery World Cup.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren awarded Deepika a cash award of Rs. 50 Lakh for her excellent performance in Paris.

She will be the only Indian woman archer to represent the country at the Tokyo Olympics this month.

“I’m happy, but at the same time I have to continue my performance like this.I want to improve that, because the upcoming tournament (Tokyo Olympics) is very, very important to us. I’m trying my best to continue learning whatever I can,” Deepika told World Archery after attaining the No.1 ranking. 

Working Ranking – 1

First Olympic Games – London 2012

Major Achievements

World Championships

  • Silver – Women’s Team, 2011 Torino
  • Silver – Women’s Team, 2015 Copenhagen

Asian Archery Championships

  • Bronze – Mixed Team, 2019 Bangkok
  • Bronze – Team, 2019 Bangkok
  • Silver – Recurve Team, 2015 Bangkok
  • Bronze – Mixed Team, 2015 Bangkok
  • Gold – Mixed Team, 2013 Taipei
  • Silver – Recurve Team, 2011 Tehran

Commonwealth Games

  • Gold – Recurve individual, 2010 Delhi
  • Gold – Recurve team, 2010 Delhi

Asian Games

Bronze – Recurve team, 2010 Guangzhou