Early life of Deepika Kumari
Deepika Kumari was born on June 13, 1994, in the city of Ranchi in erstwhile Bihar, presently the Indian state of Jharkhand, to Shivnarayan Mahato, an auto-rickshaw driver and Geeta Mahato, a nurse at Ranchi Medical College. Her parents stay at Ratu Chati village, 15 kilometres away from Ranchi. Nicknamed Deepa, Deepika practised archery as a child aiming for mangoes with stones. It was rather difficult in the early days for her parents to support her dream financially, often compromising on the family budget to buy her new equipment for training purpose. Therefore, she practised archery using homemade bows and arrows of bamboo. Deepika's cousin Vidya Kumari, then an archer residing at Tata Archery Academy, helped develop her talent.
Career of Deepika Kumari
Deepika Kumari got her first ever breakthrough in the year 2005, when she entered Arjun Archery Academy, an institute set up by Meera Munda, wife of Chief Minister of Jharkhand Shri Arjun Munda, at Kharsawan city. She turned professional in archery in 2006, joining the Tata Archery Academy in Jamshedpur. It was there that she started her training with proper uniform and equipment, also receiving Rs.500 as stipend. Deepika returned home once in her first three years there, only after having won the Cadet World Championship title in November 2009.
Deepika Kumari became the second Indian to win the junior compound competition title at the 2006 Archery World Cup in Mérida, Mexico. She won the 11th Youth World Archery Championship held in Ogden, United States in 2009, at the age of 15 years. She also won a gold medal in the same competition in the Women's Team recurve event, alongside archers Dola Banerjee and Bombayala Devi. She went on to win 2 Gold medals in the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, in the womens individual recurve event and the womens team recurve event, alongside Banerjee and Devi. For this, she was honoured with the Outstanding Performance at CWG (Female) Award at the Sahara Sports Awards 2010. Later on at the Asian Games 2010, held in Guangzhou, China, Deepika missed out on a medal after she lost to Kwon Un Sil of North Korea in the bronze medal play-off in the women's individual event. But as a part of the Indian archery recurve team along with Rimil Buriuly and Dola Banerjee, she edged out Chinese Taipei 218-217, in the bronze play-off to ensure a podium finish at the Aoti Archery Range.
In May 2012, Deepika Kumari won her first World Cup individual stage recurve gold medal at Antalya, Turkey. She beat Korea's Lee Sung-Jin by 6 set points to 4 in the final. Later in the year, she would go on to become World No. 1 in Women's Recurve Archery. In the London Olympics 2012, Deepika lost against Great Britains Amy Oliver in the opening round, attributing a relatively poor performance to fever and high winds. In July 2013, she won the Gold in Archery World Cup stage 3 held at Medellin, Colombia in womens recurve team, where India finished fourth. In September 2013, she lost 4-6 to Yun Ok-Hee of South Korea, settling for the Silver medal in the 2013 Archery World Cup in womens recurve individual. This was her third Silver in as many appearances in the World Cup Final.
Deepika Kumari failed to make the Indian team in 2014, after finishing outside the top 4 at the national qualifications. In 2015, Deepika's first medal came at the second stage of the Archery World Cup, where she won a bronze in the individual event. At the World Championships in Copenhagen, she won silver in the team event along with Laxmirani Majhi and Rimil Buriuly, after narrowly losing out on the gold against Russia, which they conceded 4-5 in a shoot-off. In the latter half of the year, she won the Silver medal in the 2015 Archery World Cup final, bagging her 4th silver medal in five years, going down 2-6 to reigning World No. 1 and top-seeded Koreas Choi Misun in Mexico City. In July, she qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August 2016, alongside Laxmi Rani Majhi and Rimil Buriuly. In November 2015, she won the Bronze medal in the 2015 Asian Archery Championships, with archer Jayanta Talukdar in the Recurve Mixed Team event.
Awards and Recognitions received by Deepika Kumari
Deepika Kumari has been honoured with the following awards and recognitions.
During the Jharkhand Day celebrations, the Government of Jharkhand issued full page photos in leading local newspapers, with Deepika Kumari flaunting her gold medals along with India's cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who also hails from Ranchi.
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