Love in Tokyo: Atanu & Deepika - First Archery Couple at Olympics

While Atanu will be going for his second Olympics, Deepika is taking part in her third Games. 

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Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari will represent India at the Tokyo Olympics. 
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Seasoned archers Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das will be India’s first couple to take part at the Olympics in Tokyo later this year. Not only that, but they will also be the first Archery couple to take part in the same event at the Olympics.

While Atanu will be going for his second Olympics, Deepika is taking part in her third Games. The duo have won many individual medals, but their only medal together was a Bronze in the Mixed Team Event at the 2016 Archery World Cup in Shanghai, China.

Deepika, who is a former world number one, had secured an individual quota after winning the Gold medal finish at the Asian continental qualifier in Bangkok in November 2019.

After the final selection trials (Trial 3) at the Army Insitute of Sports in Pune, a six-strong squad which has three male and equal number of female archers was selected for the quadrennial extravaganza.

“I am very happy with the way the trial went and I am now confirmed for the Olympics. I have gone through a long process between the 2016 Olympics to now and have realised that the mental aspect of the game is very important. I am looking forward to perform at my best in both the individual and team events in Tokyo,” Atanu was quoted as saying by PTI.

Besides Atanu and Tarundeep, the other archer in the Indian men’s team is Pravin Jadhav, while Ankita Bhakat and Komolika Bari complete the women’s squad. The women’s recurve team is yet to win an Olympic quota and they will get an opportunity at the Final Team Qualification event scheduled to take place in Paris from 18-21 June.

The trio of Deepika, Ankita and Komolika will represent India at that event and if they earn the quota they will go on to represent India at the Olympics following Monday’s results.

Atanu and Deepika’s Olympic Dream

Engaged since 2018, Atanu and Deepika’s initial plans were to get married only after the Tokyo Olympics but it was the coronavirus pandemic that allowed them to bring forward their plans without losing out on valuable competition time.

“We didn’t want to skip any competitions because of our personal life,” Atanu was quoted as saying by worldarchery.sport.

“We only have so much time to compete at a high level, so why not do it 100% - all the way, all the time? We just want to make the most of it.”

At Tokyo, India’s archery couple will hope there is more reason to celebrate as they look to bring home the first medal in the event at the Games.

“We’re husband and wife now, but it’s really a partnership. We have the same goals, and we’re able to focus on them together,” Deepika told worldarchery.sport.

The ace archers, who first met in Jamshedpur in 2008 at the Tata Archery Academy, tied the knot on 30 June in Ranchi in a low-key ceremony. They had started dating three years before their wedding.

"We've known each other for so long so there's a strong bond of friendship and a whole lot of comfort between us,” Atanu Das had told ESPN in an interview. “I admire her attitude of wanting to get things done and the efforts she puts into her physical fitness. It has not slackened in all the years I've known her,” Atanu said.

Jennifer and Vece Paes, parents of tennis ace Leander Paes, are the only other Indian couple who participated in the Olympics after their marriage. Jennifer, a basketball player, and Vece, a hockey midfielder, took part in the 1972 Munich Olympics.

There are other Indian couples who got married after they participated at the Olympics, sprinter Manjeet Kaur and hockey player Gurwinder Singh Chandi who participated in the London Olympics in 2012 but got married in 2015. Badminton players Saina Nehwal and Parupalli Kashyap, who represented India in the 2016 London Olympics, got married in 2018.

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