|Full Name||Deepika Kumari|
|Born||June 13, 1994|
|Age||28 Years, 7 Months, 19 Days|
She might be just 22, but Deepika Kumari is hands down the biggest archery star in the country. That in itself is a huge achievement for this young athlete.
What's really exciting about the former World Number 1 is that she usually seems to reserve her best for an Olympic year. In 2012, ahead of the London Games, she climbed to Number 1 in the world rankings. This year, she shot a world record-equalling total in the women's recurve event of the Archery World Cup in Shanghai, exactly 100 days before the Rio Games. She shot 686/720.
There's no doubt that the current World Number 5 has got the talent. What she needs to work on is her nerves. A day after her world record equalling feat, Deepika made a shock quarter-final exit. Four years ago at the London Olympics, she was the top seed but had to make a first round exit. She herself put it down mainly to nerves. This time in Rio, can Deepika hold her nerve better?
Overall, Deepika's quiver of titles is an impressive one. She won a World Championship silver medal in 2011 and then again in 2015. She won three World Cup silver medals in 2011, 2012 and 2013. She has won two Commonwealth Games gold medals in the individual and team recurve event and also won an Asian Games bronze medal in 2010. In 2012, Deepika was given the Arjuna award. Four years later, she was awarded the Padma Shri.
Deepika's journey from a small village, 15 kms away from Ranchi to the world stage is a fascinating one. As a child, she used to practice by throwing stones at mangoes on trees. Then she used homemade bows and arrows. In 2006 when she joined the Tata Archery Academy in Jamshedpur, her life changed forever. For the first time, she had access to proper equipment and was even given a modest stipend. For the first time, she had the confidence to aim for world titles. She has never looked back since then.
Going into the Rio Games, Deepika will want to exorcise the ghosts of London. This time she is four years older, four years more experienced. But can she bag India's first ever Olympic medal in archery?