Games & medals
Rio de Janeiro 2016
Atanu DAS biography
On a windy morning at Rio 2016, up against South Korean archer Lee Seung-Yun in the Round of 16, Atanu Das needed a 10 with his final shot of the fifth set to take the contest into a shoot-off. He managed a 9. The difference of mere millimetres marked the end of the Indian archer’s Olympics dream in his debut campaign.
Conditions, luck or inexperience – the Kolkata archer could have chosen any as the underlying factors to justify his arrow narrowly missing the intended mark.
But Atanu Das attributed it to his own lack of mental strength – an aspect he has been working tirelessly to improve since then.
“After my Rio experience, I learnt how important it is to have the right mind. Our sport is so much about being able to manage confidence, concentration and anxiety. The margin between medal and no medal is just so narrow,” he said.
It’s these same qualities – not shying away from self-criticism and an insatiable drive to improve – which have catapulted Atanu Das to the forefront of the Indian men’s archery scene within a very short period of time.
Born in Baranagar, West Bengal, Atanu Das was 14 when archery caught his interest and he promptly joined an academy to hone his skills.
He soon blossomed into a promising archer. But it wasn’t until 2011 that he enjoyed the first validation of his choice of sport. A silver medal at the World Youth Championship men’s team event in Poland marked his first tangible return for the hard work he had put in.
That same year, at the 3rd Asian Grand Prix in Bangladesh, the recurve archer bagged gold medals in the individual and mixed team events and then won a bronze medal in the men's team event.
Every passing year, Atanu Das grew and thrived to establish himself in the senior circuit. And by 2016, that the limelight was firmly on him.
With India winning just one quota place in the men’s category for the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the Archery Association of India chose to go ahead with trials to select the archer who would represent India at the Games.
Pitted against experienced archers such as Jayanta Talukdar and Mangal Singh Champia, barely anyone gave a young Atanu Das a chance to make the Olympic cut.
But the determined archer brought his ‘A’ game when it mattered and punched his tickets for his maiden Games.
Having finished a respectable fifth in the ranking rounds in the men’s individual event at the Rio Games, Atanu Das was expected to put up a fight once the knock-outs got underway and he didn’t disappoint.
The Indian archer breezed past Nepal's Jitbahadur Muktan and then fought through a close contest against Cuba’s Andres Perez to reach the pre-quarterfinals. The journey, however, ended there as Atanu Das had to bite the bitter pill after going down to Lee Seung-yun in a close contest.
His performance, nevertheless, as the sole male Indian archer at his maiden Olympics against an opponent who went on to clinch gold in the men’s team event gave credence to his talent.
Over the past years, Atanu Das has been working on taking his game to the next level. Along with Tarundeep Rai, Jayanta Talukdar and Pravin Jadhav he has built a strong team in the men’s recurve category.
With them, Atanu Das sealed a quota place in the men’s recurve team event for the Tokyo Olympics with a silver-medal show at the 2019 World Championships.
Atanu Das is currently employed with Bharat Petroleum’s sports promotion board and engaged to fellow archer Deepika Kumari, a former world no. 1 and an Olympian herself.