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Marriage in the time of pandemic

After three failed attempts, Atanu Das will tie the knot with fellow archer Deepika Kumari next Monday. The Worlds silver-winner tells Ayantan Chowdhury about his marital journey & Olympic goals...

Published: 26th June 2020 07:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th June 2020 07:09 AM   |  A+A-

Atanu Das

By Express News Service

The pandemic has affected people from all walks of life, including sportspersons. But for some, this period has given time to attend to personal matters. World Championship silver-medallist Atanu Das will finally marry Deepika Kumari, after three failed attempts. This daily caught up with the recurve archer to talk about his nuptial preparations and his Tokyo Olympics aims.

Excerpts:

You are finally getting married... 
A mixture of relief and fear (laughs)! Relief because we’ve been trying to get married for some time, but each time something unavoidable came up. We both give archery top priority. Due to competitions and lack of time, we postponed this thrice. If not for the pandemic, we’d have postponed it again. Olympics is the target for us both. But every cloud has a silver lining. Now we’re all set!

With current restrictions, do you feel now is the best time for such a ceremony?
Whatever we’d planned won’t happen. We wanted an elaborate affair, with guests and friends from the archery fraternity. But due to government guidelines, that won’t be possible. The guest list has to be limited to 25. For a Bengali, that’ll be really difficult (laughs). But this window of opportunity is the best time for us. We had so much free time, so we managed to plan everything. Hopefully, things will go off without a hitch.

How did you two manage the planning bit?
There were hiccups in booking a marriage hall. After much confusion and running around, they were solved. Trimming the guest list was exhausting, but it had to be done. Also, we’ll have to adhere to all safety guidelines. Guests will have to come in batches. Sanitiser and soap dispensers will be needed at regular intervals. Also, we decided against a reception. Not the way we dreamt of this, but no complaints.

After so many postponements, how big a burden is off both of your shoulders?
I cannot even begin to describe how much relief both of us will have after the marriage. We can finally focus fully on our careers and help each other along the way — as we’ve been doing over the years — without any societal pressure.

AAI’s been planning a domestic calendar and national camp...
All of us archers want a safe environment to focus fully on our game. Hopefully, we will be told well in advance about the dates. Everyone needs time to prepare for trials. Quite a few haven’t even picked up bows in the last few months. Hopefully, things will improve by year-end so that we get the feel of an international event and face the pressure of a shootout. The indoor stages are there. That’s a good place to begin with.

What’s kept you going in these tough times?
Yoga not only helps me physically, but also keeps my mind at peace. The news around us is so depressing. It can affect an athlete a lot. We have a short range in my house. That’s obviously not enough, but considering problems world over, mine seem petty. Hopefully, the world will be in a better place in days to come. 

Your blue sunglasses during Rio Olympics gave you quite the stardom. What can we expect from you in Tokyo?
I’ve matured both as a person and an archer. We have a good group. This time, hopefully, medals will follow. Personally, I will always work hard. I’m a positive person. I won’t let anything affect me in my goal to reach the pinnacle of success.

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