With just eight months left to the commencement of the Tokyo Olympics 2021, Indian archer and Arjuna awardee Atanu Das has stated that he is an upgraded individual in comparison to what he was during the Rio Games four year back.
In an exclusive interview to DNA India, the 28-year-old archer from West Bengal talks about how he has developed himself both as an individual and player besides also reflecting on his preparation for the upcoming marquee event.
Das, who clinched a bronze medal in the Asian Archery Championship 2019 in Bangkok and settled for silver in the World Championships in the Netherlands, admitted that he is in a better shape and state of mind that what he was at Rio 2016.
“Everyone knows my journey and I do not want to repeat it again. If you look at 2010 and now in 2020, I am a totally different person as a human being and as an archer. What I was in Rio 2016, I have upgraded myself for 2021. I am not the person to complain. If we can improve it, we must improve,” he said.
Having already become the only recurve athlete to have secured qualification for Olympics 2021, Das shoots 800 arrows per day i.e nearly 50 arrows every hour with an aim to hit perfection at the forthcoming Tokyo Games.
Das, however, believes that for India to achieve more success at Olympics, the country’s archers require opportunities to feature in major tournaments preceding the showpiece event in order to gauge their strengths, weaknesses and mental strength.
“We play very few tournaments. the main point is the other countries play a lot more tournaments. I mean a large number of tournaments. In the whole year, there are tournaments every month and in 90 percent of the tournaments, many nations participate. The more you play in these tournaments, the better you will be able to gauge your weaknesses and strengths. How to improve our mental strength is also done by participating in these tournaments,” Das said.
“For us, we hardly participate in three tournaments. If it is a World Championship year, then four. We play a maximum of four tournaments and then we go into the Olympic year. All these things matter. As compared to India, other countries play on an average 15-16 tournaments,” the Indian archer added.
Das further stressed on the additional problem which is faced by recurve archers. He said that the recurve archers have to undergo a selection trial before every single event, while the other archery events are not subject to this process.
“Before every tournament, when I talk about recurve, there is a selection trial. The rest of the archery events do not have selection trials. For the whole year, that team is fixed. They will play 7-8 tournaments. In our case, we play a maximum of two tournaments before going into another selection process. We have to give 3-4 selection trials. It creates some uncertainties,” he stated.
The Tokyo Games, which was originally scheduled to take place from July 24 to August 9, 2020 but was postponed due to coronavirus pandemic, is slated to be held from July 23 to August 8 next year.