Deepika qualifies ninth, to face Bhutanese archer in first elimination round
Tokyo, July 23, 2021
Ace Indian archer Deepika Kumar finished a creditable ninth after the women's individual ranking round, notching up a total of 663 points, on the opening day of the Tokyo Olympics at the Yumenoshima Ranking Field, the venue of the archery competitions, on Friday.
On a day when the Olympic record of 673 points in the qualification round was broken by the top four archers -- South Korean trio of An San (680), Jang Minhee (677) and Kang Chae Young (675) and Mexico's Alejandra Valencia (674) -- Deepika endured a challenging day as she kept moving up and down the leaderboard throughout the event.
All four top archers surpassed the long-standing record of Lina Herasymenko of Ukraine, who had shot 673 points at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
South Korea also smashed the team event record -- where the scores of three archers of a country are combined - aggregating 2032 points, ahead of Mexico (1976 points) and USA (1970 points).
The 27-year-old Deepika, winner of a hat-trick of gold medals at the in the World Cup Stage 3 in Paris late last month which helped her reclaim the No. 1 spot in the world, has now been paired with Bhutan's Karma in the elimination round (round of 32).
Deepika's performance fluctuated between brilliant and mediocre as the Indian world No. 1 started at No. 8 after the first six shots but slipped to 14th, finishing the first half placed fourth on the leaderboard.
Deepika again saw a slump in the second half but recovered with a fine 58 and moved to sixth after 10 rounds. But a penultimate round of 53 saw her come down to seventh with an aggregate of 609 points, before another below-par round of 54 saw her dip further to ninth spot, for a final aggregate of 663 points.
Deepika is competing in her third Olympics. She will take part in women's individual and mixed team event where she is paired with husband Atanu Das.
The archery competition comprises a ranking round, where 128 archers -- 64 men and as many women -- shoot 72 arrows at a targets 70 metres away. Each archer is given two minutes to shoot six arrows in each round with 720 being the perfect score.
Based on the scores in the round, the top-ranked archer goes up against the 64th-ranked archer, the second is pitted against the 63rd, and so on.