The World No. 1 had an underwhelming showing at the opening day of the quadrennial event.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics finally kicked off today after months of postponement and uncertainty. A total of 121 Indian athletes will be in action at the various events over the next few days. The first day of action saw Indian archery contingent take the stage in the qualifying rounds of the event. The preliminaries decide the seeding entries into the regular team, mixed team and individual events later. 

Deepika Kumari was the sole individual from India taking part in the Women’s Individual Ranking Round. In the Men’s section, set to take Atanu Das, Pravin Jadhav and Tarundeep Rai were in action.

Deepika Kumari starts on a discouraging note

A points breakdown of Deepika Kumari’s performance at the Tokyo Olympics ranking round (Courtesy: World Archery)

Deepika Kumari, one of India’s best hopes of a Tokyo Olympics medal was in action during the women’s qualifying round. The Arjuna Awardee finished ninth overall in the qualifying round with a final score of 663. This was a disappointing performance from the sole Indian athlete in the Tokyo Olympics women’s archery ranking round. 

The World No. 1 archer started off on a shaky note. But, she steadied her performance, scoring 334 points from the first 36 out of 72 arrows. At that point, she stood fourth in the points table behind USA’s Mackenzie Brown, South Korea’s Jang Minhee and An San who had 336, 339 and 345 points respectively.

After the second set of ends took place at the Tokyo Olympics ranking round, the Jharkhand archer fell down in the rankings following a disappointing display. In the second half, she scored just 329 points. She was on course for a seventh place finish. But, a final shot of seven points cost her two more positions. The competition was tough, but the Indian failed to capitalize on her form, after winning the gold at the 2021 Archery World Cup in Guatemala City recently. 

She will now face Karma of Bhutan in the Round of 32 of the women’s individual event on 28 July.

Pravin Jadhav & Deepika Kumari to contest mixed team event

The trio of Atanu Das, Pravin Jadhav and Tarundeep Rai did not impress either, rather had a very weak showing in the men’s individual ranking event. After the first 36 shots, Pravin Jadhav stood in 30th place with 329 points, tied with Atanu Das. Tarundeep Rai had 323 points from 36 shots, putting him in 45th position at the halfway stage.

As for the leaders, the Koreans were yet again amongst the top ranks at this point. Denis Gankin of Kazakhstan was third with 338 points, Wookin Kim and Je Deok Kim from South Korea were second and first with 340 and 345 points respectively.

The Indians showed slight improvement but their overall performance was not ideal. After all the 72 arrows were shot Pravin Jadhav scored 656 points, taking 31st place. Atanu Das scored 653 points finishing 35th and Tarundeep Rai placed 37th with 652 points.

The mixed team rankings also suffered due to these performance as India slumped to a ninth place finish, scoring a total of 1319 points. As it stands, Pravin Jadhav will team up with Deepika Kumari in the mixed team event, excluding further late changes.

Olympic record broken

Impressively, the Olympic record for most points in the women’s recurve archery ranking rounds was broken by An San of South Korea. She scored an incredible 680 points in the Tokyo Olympics women’s recurve archery ranking round. The previous best was 673, held by Ukraine’s Lisa Herasymenko (1996 Atlanta Olympics) and South Korea’s Park Sung-hyun (2008 Beijing Olympics). The Koreans were the favourites coming into the event and as expected finished in the top three places.

An San naturally grabbed the top spot. Jang Minhee (677) and Kang Chae-young (675) finished second and third respectively. In fact, they too broke the previous record.

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