He may no longer be the India No. 1 recurve archer, but the seasoned Atanu Das is fully aware of the responsibility of not only bringing out the best in him but also the team as they look to overcome the Asian Games ‘jinx’. Recurve archery, an Olympic discipline, has been on a downward spiral and its slide has ironically coincided with the rise in the compound section, where India now boast of two recently-crowned world champions in Ojas Deotale and Aditi Swami.
With the postponed Asian Games taking place just a year before the Paris Olympics, the pressure is more on recurve where no archer is inside the top-10 in world rankings.
India have not won a recurve medal, individual or team, since the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games.
Das, who is set for a third Asian Games participation, is the senior-most archer in the recurve team, which will have promising Army man Dhiraj Bommadevara and the rookie duo of Mrinal Chauhan and Tushar Shelke.
In the women’s section, two-time Asian Games participant Ankita Bhakat will have the company of Simranjeet Kaur, Bhajan Kaur and Prachi Singh.
“I am very much aware of my responsibilities to the team, and everyone is following my footsteps and guidance. So, the Games will be smooth for the team and individuals also,” Das told PTI from Sonepat.
“As a senior, I guide the team to be focussed on the work process and stay as a team, work hard as a team, and win as a team.
“Knowingly or unknowingly, most of the team members follow my technical, mental and physical instructions. So, we are in good shape as a team,” added the former world No. 6.
Das further said being the senior-most player in the squad does put a bit of expectation on him. He added that he has been working on his physical and mental sides to give his best at the Games.
“My preparation is going very well so far. Working on my mental and physical health to perform better in this Asian Games.” In the last Asian Games in Jakarta, Das exited in the quarterfinals, while the team was also eliminated at the last-eight stage.
“Yes, of course, there is little expectation on the results, but I am more focussed on my performance rather than the outcome because, in sports, anything can happen,” Das said.
“I’m controlling my controllables, which are my emotions, approach, hard work. The outcome is not in my hands, so I am not thinking about that much.” “I couldn’t win medals in the last two Asian Games, so I am very confident to do my best in this Asian Games,” he said.
Archers are currently in the national camp at the Sports Authority of India centre in Sonepat and will head to Hangzhou on September 28. They will begin their campaign in the continental showpiece on October 1.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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