Tokyo Olympics 2020 is here and the excitement is growing up day by day. As an Indian, the wait seems all the more frustrating, considering that pundits all over the world have predicted a rich haul of medals, some even going to the extent of saying as the best Games for India. There is a reason to believe these prophecies, with India looking solid to win more than one medal on day one, i.e., 24th July itself.
One of the most promising medal prospects on day one of the Olympics is the mixed recurve archery team. India has witnessed some consistent performances in archery in the lead-up to the Games, particularly in the mixed team, a discipline that is making its debut at the quadrennial event. So let’s look at what are the chances of the Indian mixed recurve team in Tokyo by doing a detailed SWOT analysis.
The biggest strength of the Indian mixed recurve archery team is the bond and coordination between the couples Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das. While it’s still not certain who will team up with Deepika in the mixed team as according to archery rules, the archer who will finish as the highest-ranked player in the individual ranking round from a country in both men’s and women’s category will team up with each other. But it’s a mere formality that Atanu Das will be the highest-ranked Indian and will eventually team up with his wife Deepika. When they play together, some sort of magic happens as witnessed during the 2021 Paris World Cup, where they bagged gold. Both complement each other really well and that’s the biggest plus point of the Indian mixed recurve archery team.
Furthermore, they have a combined average of 9.19 per arrow for the past three years (Atanu has an average of 9.26 while Deepika has an average of 9.11 for the past three years; 2020 not taken into account due to no tournaments being played because of the pandemic), which is the second-best average among the teams that are ranked above India.
|Teams ( Ranked above India in mixed recurve team)||Combined average Arrow of last 3 years (2020 excluded)|
|Netherlands||9.08 (9.23 + 8.93)|
|South Korea||9.45 (9.53 + 9.37)|
|Mexico||9.09 (9.06 + 9.11)|
|Chinese Taipei||9.16 (9.14 + 9.18)|
|Russia||9.13 (9.14 + 9.11)|
|Spain||9.02 (9.18 + 8.86)|
Probably the biggest weakness is that Atanu and Deepika as a team have a really small sample size to trust on. It is still unknown that how they will handle pressure situations on the biggest stage. Moreover, their gold at Paris came in front of a weakened field as powerhouses such as South Korea and Chinese Taipei did not take part in the World Cup.
While the Indian team is currently ranked No.7 in the world, it is to be noted that South Korea and Chinese Taipei, who are ranked above them, have barely participated in any major competition in 2021. They must be rusty coming to Tokyo. India can use it in its advantage and can have an upper hand if they play against these two teams at any stage.
What becomes imperative for Atanu and Deepika is that they finish as high as possible in their individual ranking round, to avoid teams like Netherlands, Mexico and South Korea in the initial rounds of the mixed team event. Moreover, they can’t get complacent at any stage because the competition in this category is cut-throat and there are at least 8-10 teams who on a given day, can prove to be really dangerous.
After this analysis, the real question which arises is that whether India can hope for a medal in mixed recurve archery or not. Chances are good, but Atanu and Deepika will have to be on top of their game right from the word go. Having said that, all know the infamous relation between the Indian archery and Olympics, and anything can happen. Our prediction after the SWOT analysis is that India will finally end their draught in archery at the Olympics and will secure a bronze medal in the mixed recurve event.