Atanu-Deepika dropped from TOPS
Below-par performances lead to the decision
Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das, both Tokyo Olympians, have been dropped off India's Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) list following poor results at the national archery ranking event 2022 earlier this month.
TOPS is the premier initiative of the Indian sports ministry committed to finding and sponsoring India's Olympic medal contenders. The Mission Olympic Cell (MOC) is the entity in charge of determining which athletes make the TOPS list.
The MOC reviewed support for Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das in December and decided to remove the husband-wife team off the list on Thursday.
Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das, both three-time Olympians, are regarded as the best archers in India. Deepika Kumari, a former world No. 1 women's recurve archer, is one of the most decorated Indian archers of all time, having won gold in the Commonwealth, Asian, and World Championships.
Atanu Das has also won several titles at the continental and global levels. Deepika and Atanu won the individual women's and men's gold medals in the archery World Cup in Guatemala City last year.
However, in their most recent appearances, both have failed to impress. Aside from failing to qualify for Tokyo 2020, Deepika and Atanu will be dissatisfied at the archery World Cup finals in Yankton, South Dakota in October 2021. Both were ousted in the first round of a national level ranking event earlier this month, which proved to be the deciding factor.
“Considering their below-par performances in the event, MOC decided to not include them in the TOPS list for now,” the sports ministry said.
Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das have both took the decision in stride and pledged to come back stronger.
"I appreciate that SAI officials informed me before the MOC meeting itself that there was a possibility of me being excluded from the TOP Scheme. I will be motivated to return with good scores in the competitions ahead,” Deepika Kumari said.
"We were very disturbed that we could not get the results we wanted in the Olympic Games. And we took a break from competitive archery after the Olympic Games. I know it is a matter of time before we find the form and get back to where we belong," Atanu Das added.
Edited - SportsAction / Inputs - Agency