Putting mind over matter, Atanu Das hopes to shake off Rio 2016 loss

The archery star hopes an added focus on his mental game will lead to reward at Tokyo 2020.

By Sandeep Banerjee ·

With a quota sealed up, Indian archer Atanu Das was hoping to head into Tokyo 2020 in July to improve on his Rio 2016 efforts.

However, with the games officially postponed to July next year, the 27-year-old has decided to use this opportunity to prime his mental game further to achieve his goal.

That goal was denied to him in his only previous Olympic foray at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where Atanu Das was competing against world number eight Lee Seung-Yun of South Korea under a light shower.

“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,” Atanu Das explained while speaking to ESPN.

After fronting a formidable effort in Rio 2016, it had put the Indian and the Korean in a 19-19 tie by the crucial fifth set. Needing to take the match into a shoot-off, Atanu Das had to shoot a 10 but he could only manage a nine.

This experience ingrained in him the importance of the mental game.

“In Rio, I was shooting fine, but my mental strength wasn't up to the mark,” Atanu Das admitted.

In order to get a second chance, of course, first, Atanu Das had to make the cut for the Tokyo Olympics.

Atanu Das, along with fellow Indian archers Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadhav earned their Tokyo spot following a 5-3 victory against Canada in the World Championships pre-quarterfinals.

Sudden change of plans

Atanu Das, along with most of India’s top archers, were training at the Army Institute of Sports in Pune in March when the news of the lockdown forced them to scurry back home to Kolkata.

With his regular training off the menu for the time being, Atanu Das, along with fiancee and fellow Olympic archer Deepika Kumari, are still training indoors, while also working on their mental conditioning, with meditation as well as yoga to keep themselves sharp and in focus.

Four Indian archers have earned Tokyo 2020 quotas. Tarundeep Rai, Atanu Das and Pravin Jadhav are eligible for competing in the men’s event, while among the women, Deepika Kumari is India’s sole female competitor to have earned a quota.