Deepika Kumari, a 26-year-old, Indian Archer has scripted a new history as she won a gold medal in the Women’s individual recurve event at the Archery World Cup Stage 3 in Paris. With this medal, Deepika Kumari has regained the World No. 1 ranking by making a gold medal hat-trick in three recurve events.
Deepika’s Extraordinary Journey: Battling Tough Childhood To Tata Archery Academy
Belonging to Ratu Chati, a place near Ranchi in Jharkhand, Deepika Kumari has achieved a great milestone that many don’t even dream of. Deepika Kumari’s had a really tough childhood. Her father drove an auto-rickshaw for a living, and her mother worked as a nurse at the Ranchi Medical College.
Deepika Kumari’s mother always dreamed of Deepika becoming a doctor. But, the 11-year-old was fascinated at how life was at the Tata Archery Academy. Deepika’s cousin, who was enrolled in the academy, used to tell her stories. Even though Deepika didn’t have the infrastructure to practice, she started training using home apparatus and mangoes as targets.
Malnourished and deprived of opportunities, Deepika walked into the Tata Archery Academy to get admission. Her determination and persistence touched the hearts of many. Deepika was so determined to learn archery that she told the academy people that they could kick her out if she fails to get better in three months.
“My mum and dad, on the other hand, argued I was too young to live by myself, and that sports was unreliable as a career, and I should focus on studies. Bachpan se main zid karti thi, ki mujhe jaana hai, mujhe jaana hai, I stayed adamant until they relented.”
Sadly, she couldn’t get into the Tata Academy. But, she was directed to the Arjun Archery Academy. Within a year, because of her exceptional performance, she was able to join the Tata Archery Academy. And, it was then that she was able to practice with the formal archery equipment for the first time.
Deepika Kumari’s Accolades & Achievements
2009: At age of 15, Deepika Kumari won the 11th Youth World Archery Championships in the US.
2011: Two years later, she clinched two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
2012: Deepika was India’s top contender for gold in the 2012 London Olympics. But She failed to clinch the medal.
But, defeat couldn’t make Deepika give up on her dreams. She didn’t stop her preparation and won a few silver and bronze medals until Rio Olympics 2016.
Deepika Kumari Battling Tough Phase
The Arjuna awardee’s failure at Rio made her a forgotten name for media, federation, and everyone else.
“When I lost in Rio, they were the only one among the journalists and filmmakers that had shot with me, to actually call and check in on me. No one from the federation, the government or even my family called,” she told in an interview. The government did, however, present her the Padma Shri later that year, upon her return.
Deepika’s latest win makes her India’s top entry at the Tokyo Olympics scheduled next month and Indians are feeling really proud. Congratulatory messages are pouring in for her from all quarters.
Jai ho! I can’t wait to see Deepika slice the centre of the target in Tokyo and walk away with Gold again. This is a sport I hope to see Indian women achieve complete domination of in the next decade… https://t.co/BFRcsAem8Y
Many congratulations to archer #DeepikaKumari on regaining the world no. 1 ranking in women’s individual recurve after her hat-trick of gold medals at the Archery World Cup. The whole country is proud of her incredible achievement! Wishing her very best for her future endeavours. pic.twitter.com/Xy4nnTVaT7
In her inspiring documentary Ladies First, Deepika has one message for little girls everywhere – “Zid karo, haath-pair patak ke mana lo, but give up mat karo. And win the support of your family. With them by your side, they become your strength, you can answer to anyone and face anything.”
Her documentary has won over 16 international awards and is available on Netflix. Don’t miss it!
At IFORHER, we wish Deepika all the best for her future endeavors and hope she will keep inspiring us as always!