Atanu back in Indian top team but Deepika out for 2023

The Indian recurve men’s team for 2023 and Deepika Kumari in 2022.

Olympian Atanu Das has won back his place in the Indian team for this year’s world championships, Hyundai Archery World Cup and Asian Games but his wife, former world number one Deepika Kumari, has missed the cut.

The couple had a baby daughter in December 2022.

Atanu didn’t compete last season, while Kumari missed the cut initially but was returned to the line-up midway through the season.

In 2023, Das is joined by Tarundeep Rai, Dhiraj Bommadevara and Neeraj Chauhan in the four-strong recurve men’s squad, while Bhajan Kaur, Aditi Jaiswal, Ankita Bhakat and Simranjeet Kaur comprise the recurve women’s roster.

“Strong team for the 2023 season,” wrote Atanu on Twitter.

Perhaps more surprising than Deepika’s absence is that of compound men’s world number nine Abhishek Verma, who finished fifth in selections and joins the reserves.

In his place: Prathamesh Jawkar, Rajat Chauhan, Ojas Deotale and Rishabh Yadav.

Avneet Kaur, world medallist Jyothi Surekha Vennam, Aditi Swami and Sakshi Chaudhary are the four compound women slated to represent India internationally this season.

“The success of the juniors is overwhelming,” said Indian high performance director Sanjeeva Singh to PTI. “The teams have a nice 50-50 blend of youth and experience. It’s the way forward for Indian archery.”

All 16 members of the squad have international experience, which is testament to the significant investment India has made in taking its young archers to World Archery Youth Championships and continental events, so that they arrive at the top tier with world-class experience.

It’s rumoured that the country will field only its top teams at international events this season – rather than rotating an A and a B team as in previous seasons.

There’s a route back into the squad for Abhishek Verma in time for September’s Asian Games, who was runner-up at that major tournament back in 2014, should one of his peers in the top four be deemed as underperforming. (The event in Hangzhou will be the first Asian Games to include a full five events for compounds.)

But with Kumari – and world youth champion Komalika Bari – finishing outside the top eight in the recurve women’s selections, the next chance for the renowned archer to earn an Indian shirt will come in January 2024 during open trials for the Olympic team.

The Indian team is expected to compete at the Hyundai Archery World Cup season opener in Antalya in April.

Indian team for 2023

As of trials on 20 February 2023.

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