Deepika Kumari, Atanu Das eliminated from Indian team in 2022

Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

International mainstays Deepika Kumari and husband Atanu Das have been eliminated from trials for the Indian top team for the upcoming Hyundai Archery World Cup season, less than a year removed from the pair combining for three individual stage wins on the circuit.

“We are completely heartbroken,” said Kumari to PTI after the event. “We’ve nothing left for the remaining whole year, no tournament, nothing. We don’t know what we will do sitting and doing nothing at home for one year. We are never used to such a situation.”

Kumari finished fifth in the trials after losing two of her last three round robin matches, while Das was eliminated before the last eight. The top four archers in each category were selected for the first three stages of the international circuit in Antalya, Gwangju and Paris, while those ranked fifth to eighth – including Kumari (but not Das) – are planned to travel to the fourth in Medellin.

The top team is also the presumptive squad for the Asian Games in Guangzhou, China in September.

However there is provision for athletes in that top team to be replaced by team management should they perform “below par”, explained Indian high-performance director Sanjeeva Singh. That decision would not be made until after the conclusion of the fourth stage of the Hyundai Archery World Cup.

“We will keep practising hard and remain in the thick of things. Definitely, we will make a comeback – we are 100% sure,” Deepika added.

“Like they say, everything happens for a reason. Whatever happens, happens for the best. I’m sure we will upgrade ourselves further and return stronger from this debacle. We will definitely return with our best versions. It’s about mental issues and we are working hard on it.”

Deepika is the most decorated Indian archer of all time and is currently ranked number two in the world.

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