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Deepika Kumari:The Woman Who Became The Face of Indian Archery

Born in the Ratu Chatti village, near Ranchi, Jharkhand, Deepika Kumari, has taken Indian archery to new heights at international platforms. Adivasi Awaaz Creator Kavi Priya discusses Deepika's humble background, contributions and achievements, in the following article.

Deepika, receiving the Padma Shri, 2016; Image Source:

Born in 1994 to Geeta and Shivnarayan Mahato, a nurse at Ranchi Medical College and an auto driver, Deepika battled dire socio-economic conditions to achieve success. Deepika joined the Tribal Sports Training Academy, at the tender age of 12 years. The reason for her joining the academy was to eat three meals a day. This is not at all surprising, keeping in mind the poor socio-economic and political conditions of the marginalized sections in India, for whom the basic requirements of food, water and shelter remain unmet.

However, at the academy, Deepika realized her potential and became determined to reach unimaginable heights for a girl from a small village in Jharkhand. She found her interest in archery and was convinced that she could excel in the field. Her initial practices involved using bows and arrows made of bamboo. This did not stop her from constantly polishing her talent. Later, as her performances began outshining others, she got the opportunity to get into the Tata Archery Academy, Jamshedpur.

Deepika was ranked the number one archer in the year 2012. In the year 2010, she won the gold medal for India at the Commonwealth Games. In the 2013 Archery World Cup, she again won a gold medal. After Palton Hansda won the junior compound tournament at the 2006 Archery World Cup in Mérida, Mexico, Deepika became the second Indian to win the championship. Since then Deepika has gone on to win many more titles and medals. At the Continental Qualification Tournament, which was held in Bangkok alongside the 21st Asian Archery Championships in November 2019, Deepika Kumari qualified for the Olympics. In the Stage 3 competition of the Archery World Cup in Paris 2021, Deepika took home three gold medals. She again became the world's number one archer. In the 15-year history of the Hyundai Archery World Cup, she recorded the 13th triple gold and became the 11th archer to accomplish this.

Deepika, after being ranked world's number one archer; Image Source:

Deepika's talent, skill and contribution in securing positions for India in the sports of archery have been acknowledged by the government and independent institutions, apart from the masses. She was awarded the prestigious Arjuna Award in the year 2012. In 2014, she received the FICCI Sportsperson of the Year award. In 2016, she was awarded Padma Shri, the highest civilian honour, and in 2017 she received the Young Achiever's award.

Over the years India has witnessed the rise of many sportspersons. However, documenting the victories and contributions of individuals coming from marginalized sections is important. It gives hope and courage to individuals from marginalized communities to follow their dreams and achieve success.

This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.


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