JOURNEY TO THE TOP WITH A BAMBOO STICK

There can be a lot of excuses in achieving our dream. Like having poor financial background, lack of support from our family members, lack of guidance, dwelling in a rural area and many more. But these excuses are not always enough to stop everyone from reaching their dreams. Today we will let you know something about a girl who has achieved all her dreams despite having all this odds.

Deepika Kumari is an Indian archeress who had recently qualified for Tokyo Olympics. Proved herself to be the number one archeress in the world. All this she has done by her extreme desire for achieving her dream. Born on 13 June, 1994 she belongs to a village Ratu Chatti 15 kms from Ranchi and her father was an auto-rickshaw driver and mother nurse. She began archery by aiming mangoes with stones in her village. Then she used to practice by using bamboo bows and arrows because her family was not financially efficient to finance her equipment and training. She got help from her cousin Vidya Kumari who is also an archer, at that time residing at Tata Archery Academy.

In 2005 she entered Arjun Archery Academy, set up by Meera Munda, wife of Chief Minister of Jharkhand Arjun Munda. After joining Tata Archery Academy, Jamshedpur in 2006 she began her professional archery. There she got proper equipment and uniform and received stipend of ₹ 500. After winning title of Cadet World Championship in 2009 she returned home after three years.

In 2006 by winning Junior Compound Competition at the Archery World Cup, Merida, Mexico she became the second Indian to win this title after Palton Hansda. In 2009 she won 11th Youth World Archery Championship in Ogden, Utah, United States at the age of fifteen. There she also won Gold Medal in Women’s team recurve event with Dola Banerjee and Bombayala Devi. She won two gold medals in 2010 at Delhi Commonwealth Games, one in individual event and other in women’s team recurve event. For this at Sahara Sports Award Ceremony she was honoured with Outstanding Performance at CWG (Female) Award. In 2010 Asian Games at Guangzhou, China she won bronze by defeating Chinese Taipei with Dola Banerjee and Rimil Buriuly as part of the Indian Archery Recurve Team. By defeating Korea’s Lee Sung- Jin she won her first World Cup individual stage recurve gold medal at Antalya, Turkey in May 2012. In the same year she also became world’s no. 1 in Women’s Recurve Archery. But she was unable to perform better in London Olympics due to high winds and fever. She won gold medal in Archery World Cup stage 3 at Medellin, Colombia in 2013. In the same year she also got silver medal in FITA Archery World Cup. In 2015 she got bronze medal in an individual event in the second stage of World Cup. She got a silver medal with her team Laxmirani Majhi and Rimil Buriuly in World Championship in Copenhagen, Denmark. In the same year she won silver medal in World Cup final and in November bronze medal with Jayanta Talukdar in Recurve Team Mixed Event in the Asian Championship. She equaled the world record of Ki Bobae of 686/720 in women’s recurve event during World Cup in Shanghai. She won three gold medals in the Archery’s World Cup stage 3 at Paris in 2021. She recorded her 13th triple gold and became 11th archer to achieve this in 15 year history of Hyundai Archery World Cup.

She got featured in Forbes India ’30 under 30′ in 2014. She has been honoured with Arjun Award in 2012 and Padma Shri in 2016. She also got FICCI Sportsperson of the Year award in 2014 and Young Achievers Award by Vogue in 2017.

She married to Atanu Das on 30 June, 2020 who is himself an archer. A documentary named ‘Ladies First’ dedicated to her made by Uraaz Bahl and his wife Shaana Levy Bahl got released in 2017. This documentary is available on Netflix. The film got an award at London Independent Film Festival, best documentary award at New York Film Awards and Best Inspirational Film at Los Angeles Film Awards. To increase the awareness about women sports in India it got screened with Maneka Gandhi; Union Minister of Women and Child Development at that time. It got also screened at the Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival in 2017.

In the ongoing Tokyo Olympics 2020 she was one of the archeress from India but she lost a match in quarterfinals.

Deepika Kumari proves that our present condition never decide that what we can achieve. It all depends on our desire, dedication and hardwork. From practicing from the bamboo sticks to being the number one archeress in the world she proves that nothing can stop you if you don’t lose hope and start from what you have. It’s heartbreaking that she can’t grabbed a medal in Olympics, but we need to remember that life is full of ups and downs and we have to give our full potential without worrying much about the outcomes.

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