The ace archer has won plaudits for several memorable performances over the years.
When it comes to Indian archery, Deepika Kumari is a name that stands out. The 26-year-old started her professional journey after joining the Tata Archery Academy in 2006. And there was no looking back from there on!
Kumari won her first major title when she became the first Indian woman to win the junior compound competition at the Archery World Cup in Mexico. The Ranchi-born athlete continues to be the face of Indian archery and will be looking to end her wait for an Olympic medal in Tokyo later this year.
In fact, she has now entered the final four of the women’s recurve event in the ongoing Archery World Cup in Guatemala, She has a shot at another prestigious gold medal to add to her cap.
Deepika Kumari has managed to win several accolades and received several awards for her outstanding efforts on the international stage. Let’s take a look at five of the greatest achievements from her career so far:
5. Becoming World No.1 in Women’s Recurve Archery
In June 2012, Deepika Kumari became only the second Indian woman, after Dola Banerjee, to become the World No. 1. She achieved the feat after winning her first individual recurve World Cup gold medal at Antalya, Turkey. In doing so, she climbed up from the third spot to the summit with 253 points. Kumari overtook South Korea’s Ki Bo-bae to claim this prestigious honour.
An Indian becoming the numero uno archer in the world. That’s something that Kumari would always be immensely proud of!
4. Gold medals at the World Cup
Deepika Kumari has had some memorable outings in the Archery World Cup in the recent past. In 2012, she clinched her first World Cup individual stage recurve Gold medal at Antalya, Turkey. She got the better of South Korea’s Lee Sung-jin by six set points to four in the final. She won her second Gold as part of the recurve team in the Archery World Cup Stage 3 which was held at Medellin, Colombia.
Another Gold medal followed soon when she was once again a crucial cog in the wheel of the recurve team that won Gold in Wroclaw, Poland. Kumari then won her first individual Gold medal in six years in the 2018 World Cup, held at Salt Lake City, United States. She ousted Germany’s Michelle Kropen 7-3 in the recurve final.
3. Two Gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games
At the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, a 16-year-old Deepika Kumari announced her arrival in grand fashion.
Kumari teamed up with Dola Banerjee and Bombayla Devi for the women’s recurve event. In the final, they edged England 207-206 to secure Gold for India. She continued her good form in the women’s recurve individual event, delivering a masterclass performance to defeat the experienced Alison Williamson of England 6-0 in the final.
2. National Awards
The Government of India has duly recognised Deepika Kumari’s efforts. She became only the third female archer and tenth overall, to win the Arjuna Award in 2012.
Four years later, in the year 2016, Kumari received the Padma Shri , the fourth-highest civilian award in the Republic of Indi
1. Equalling recurve world record
Deepika Kumari added a new feather in her cap at the Archery World Cup in 2016, held in Shanghai, China when she equalled the world record in the women’s recurve event.
The current world no. 9 had shot 686 in the 72-arrow ranking round to equal the mark set by 2012 London Olympics Gold medal winner Ki Bo-bae of South Korea. Koreans have dominated the discipline in recent times and Ki erased an 11-year-old world record when she got past compatriot Park Sung-hyun’s 682 at the qualification rounds of the Universiade in Gwangju in 2015.
Kumari set the range ablaze shooting 346 in the first round and needed 341 to get past the Korean, but two 9s in the last end meant the world record would eventually be equalled.