CHENNAI: Last year, Indians around the world were glued to their TV screens as a young Indian archer, wearing a funky blue pair of shades, kept hitting bullseye after bullseye at the Rio Olympics. Now, Atanu Das has created another record as he reached a career-best ranking of World No 7.
The ranking boost comes on the back of a third-round finish at the Archery World Cup Stage II in Antalya (Turkey) and a quarterfinal finish in Stage I.
“I’m obviously pleased with my ranking. It shows that I have been consistent in my outings. However, I’m yet to win a major competition and that is my next target,” the 25-year-old told Express.
Since those heady days in Rio, Atanu has had a mixed season. Apart from the disappointing World Cup outings, he also took part in the 2016 Indoor World Cup. He claimed bronze in Stage II at Bangkok while clinching the yellow metal at Las Vegas in Stage IV.
“After Rio, people expected me to go and keep winning. It’s not as easy as it sounds. The main thing for me is to keep on improving and that process is continuous,” he added.
As part of his preparations, Atanu went to South Korea in March for a 10-day camp at the Coach Kim Archery School, organised by his sponsors Olympic Gold Quest. He chose the venue as prior to the Olympics, he had gone there to train and the Kolkata archer hopes to reap the benefits soon.
“The coach there made some minor changes in my technique and I’m working on that. It will take some time before the results show. People might think that my World Cup results were disappointing but I know I’m making steady progress.”
He is also working hard on his concentration, doing meditation and yoga on a daily basis.
His upcoming commitments include World Cup Stage IV in Berlin in August and the World Archery Championships in Mexico in October. Atanu will not participate in Stage III as the Archery Association of India has decided to send the B team to the event.
“My aim for the year is to win an individual gold at the World Championships. I’m practicing hard. I’m sure the technical corrections will come into effect by then and I’m really looking forward to it,” the World Championship silver medallist added.
Not one for superstition on the archery range, Atanu admits lot of people have asked him about his sunglasses that he sported at Rio. “Those are my lucky shades. My plan is to wear them during the Worlds. Hopefully, it will pay off,” signed off Atanu.