Mixed team India’s best archery medal hope in Tokyo: Dharmendra Tiwary

Dharmendra Tiwary was the Indian men’s archery team’s coach at the 2016 Rio Olympics and mentored both Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari in their early years.

By Utathya Nag ·

Dronacharya award-winning archery coach Dharmendra Tiwary believes the inclusion of the mixed-team event in Tokyo Olympics archery programme has bolstered India’s chances of a maiden medal in the sport at the Summer Games.

The mixed-team archery event, which will involve a male and a female participant, will make its Olympic Games debut in Tokyo. It will feature alongside the men’s and women’s individual and team events.

“It’s good that a mixed team event has been included in next year’s Olympics at Tokyo. The Indian mixed teams have won medals in World Cups on more than one occasion, and I am optimistic that they can come up with a similar show in the Olympics,” Tiwary told The Telegraph.

Dharmendra Tiwary coached the Indian men’s archery team at the 2016 Rio Olympics and was a mentor to ace Indian archers Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das during their formative years.

Both his star pupils, who recently got married to each other, have earned quota places for the Tokyo Games and are likely candidates to team up in the mixed team event as India’s top men’s and women’s archers.

Tiwary, currently the head coach of the Jamshedpur-based elite Tata Archery Academy (TAA), also stressed the importance of teaching Indian archers to handle crowd pressure at big-ticket events such as the Olympics.

“Spectators fill the galleries on both sides of the shooting range in international competitions, including the Olympics. Our archers have never competed in front of a large presence of spectators,” he said.

The archery mentor opined that a psychologist to help prepare the Indian archers mentally could be a big help, given certain conditions were met.

“But the psychologist should have adequate knowledge about the game and have a fair bit of understanding of an archer’s needs on the mental front.

“They should be able to understand the amount of pressure an archer is undergoing and try to calm it down. Countries like Korea and the US have psychologists as support staff,” he stated.

The 46-year-old Tiwary also sounded hopeful for a medal in the gender-specific team events but observed that medal chances in the individual events will largely depend on the archer’s form and mental state on the day of the competition.

Currently, India have secured four quota places for Tokyo. The full quota for men’s places have already been secured, courtesy Atanu Das, Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadhav’s silver medal run as part of the recurve team at the 2019 World Championships.

Deepika Kumari, meanwhile, is the only woman to have won a quota so far after winning the gold medal at the Asian Continental Qualification Tournament in Bangkok last year. 

More women’s quotas, however, can be secured at the final Olympics qualification event set to be held from June 18 to 21 next year in Paris.