|Date of Birth||5 April 1992|
|Birth Place||Baranagar, West Bengal|
|Sport/Event(s)||Archery – Men’s Recurve (Individual, Team and Mixed)|
|Current World Ranking||9 (2021)|
|Major achievements||Team Silver at 2019 World Championships|
Individual Gold at Guatemala World Cup 2021
Individual Gold at Las Vegas Indoor Archery World Cup 2017
Mixed Gold at Paris World Cup 2021
Mixed Silver at Antalya World Cup 2016
2 World Cup Men’s Team Silvers
4 World Cup Mixed Team Bronzes
Team Bronze at Shanghai World Cup 2016
3 Bronzes at Asian Archery Championships 2019 (Individual, Team and Mixed)
Atanu Das’s name often gets associated with Deepika Kumari’s during the build-up for the Tokyo Olympics given that the husband-wife duo, competing in Mixed Team, is India’s best hope for a first-ever archery medal.
However, Atanu has emerged as the most consistent male archer from India over the last few years right from his international breakthrough year of 2014. Indian archery fans should definitely look to follow his exploits in the Individual and Men’s team events as well.
Atanu Das’s Career
In 2014, a young and inexperienced Indian team comprising Atanu Das, Sanjay Boro, and Thupuvoyi Sworu took the mighty South Koreans to a tie-break in the finals of the Medellin World Cup. Though the Indians eventually lost and had to settle for silver, the natural ability of the rookies stood out.
Atanu had already won a Mixed Team bronze with Deepika a year prior in 2013 at the same venue. He went on to win another Mixed bronze in Medellin 2014 and a Team silver in the Wroclaw World Cup 2014 and thoroughly cemented his place in the Indian team.
By 2016 he was the only male Indian archer qualified for the Rio Olympics. Three World Cup medals prior to the Rio Games raised hopes for a good showing, especially after he was seeded 5th in the Rio ranking round. To his bad luck though, he had to face South Korea’s Lee Seung-Yun in the Round of 16 and lost in a close contest.
Indian archers carry psychological baggage against South Koreans in major world events and Atanu was no different. He later admitted he wasn’t mentally strong enough.
He brushed off the Olympic disappointment the following year by winning his first ever individual medal, a gold, at the Las Vegas Indoor Archery World Cup 2017. In 2019, he won three bronzes in each of the 3 events at the 2019 Asian Archery Championships competing under the neutral flag due to the suspension of India’s archery federation.
Also in 2019, Atanu and fellow Tokyo teammates Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadhav won a historic silver at the Archery World Championships and qualified for the 2020 Olympics.
2021 so far has been the best year in Atanu’s career. He won two medals at the Guatemala World Cup, his first outdoor individual gold and a Mixed Team bronze with Ankita Bhakat. At the Paris World Cup, he and Deepika won their first-ever Mixed Team gold.
Atanu Das’s Family and Background
Atanu started archery in 2007 since his father wanted him to join an Olympic sport. He was initially rejected from the Tata Academy selection trials. This snub motivated him to take up archery as a career. He worked hard at improving and by 2010 he was part of India’s Youth Olympics squad.
He hails from a middle-class family belonging to Baranagar near Kolkata. His family includes parents Amit and Arati Das and a sister named Shreya. In 2018 he got engaged to fellow archer Deepika Kumari. The pair married in 2020. Atanu Das was the subject of an episode of Anatomy Of series by the Olympic Channel
Chances at the Tokyo Olympics
All eyes will most certainly be on the Mixed Team duo of Atanu and Deepika. However, a lot will depend on seeding. On 23rd July, 128 archers will compete in a ranking round that will determine their seeding in the individual, mixed, and team events.
In Mixed Team only the Top 16 out of 28 teams will compete in elimination matches. These will occur on the 24th. The Men’s Team event has 12 nations competing. The Top 4 in the ranking rounds will get a bye to the quarterfinals whereas seeds 5-12 will participate in a Round of 16. All these will be held on the 26th.
The Individual round will be the most competitive since it has 64 participants. The Men’s individual finals will be held on 31st.
Judging from the above, the new Mixed format will be India’s best chance. Deepika and Atanu are India’s best archers at present and the event only has 4 matches to determine a medal. The Indian pair certainly has the pedigree to qualify for the Top 16. After that it will be a question of luck and managing nerves, considering the Mixed medals will be the first to be given out.