My third Olympics will be different, asserts archer Deepika Kumari

Guatemala City (Guatemala), Apr 20 (IANS): Top Indian women's recurve archer Deepika Kumari said on Tuesday that the Tokyo Olympics will be a different experience compared to her previous two Games, and she is expecting a much improved perform in three months' time.

The Indian recurve contingent is currently in the city for the Archery World Cup 2021 (Stage I) and will get its first taste of international competition in over a year due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

"The (Tokyo) Olympics will be different for me. I'm learning how to control my thoughts. At the same time, I'm performing better," said Kumari, who would be heading to her third straight Olympics later this summer.

The former world No. 1 had finished on top in the selection trials, and she is also leading the recurve women's squad, which is trying to augment its quota for the Tokyo Games from one to three at the final qualifier in Paris in two months' time.

"Archery is all about your mind and thoughts. We have to know how to handle pressure, how to control the brain; my mind control, my thought control. That's the key in archery and sports," Kumari told World Archery, the world governing body for the sport.

Kumari has already had an illustrious career, finishing on the podium five times in seven appearances at the Hyundai Archery World Cup Final and won countless other international medals.

Ever since her Commonwealth Games gold at the age of 15, Kumari has been in the limelight and that has added to the pressure.

"I didn't know anything at that time. I was so young. I was just enjoying the games. If I win, if I lose, it didn't matter for me. I wish I could go back to that, but in a different way; with my (current) experience, with my control."

The 26-year-old says that she still has a lot of international archery left -- and plenty of room to continue learning. That self-improvement kicks into gear with a return to the Hyundai Archery World Cup field this week in Guatemala City.

"You continue practising, practising, practising. But competitions give you pressure. You need to know how to handle pressure," she said.

As for archery powerhouse South Korea recently confirming that it would not compete on the World Cup circuit this year, Kumari says, "Had they participated, there would have been a little more competition, but it doesn't matter for me. It's their decision. I want to play."


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