If there is even a feeble chance of India bagging a medal from the archery event of the Rio Olympics 2016, look up to Atanu Das. Only he can get the job done now, with all the top women archers from the country crashing out of the mega sporting quadrennial event this time around.
Atanu, 24, who belongs to Bansdroni, Kolkata, goes into the men's individual archery pre-quarters event on Friday at Sambodromo, Rio de Janeiro. The Indian goes head-to-head with South Korea's Lee Seung-Yun on the day.
The likes of Deepika Kumari, touted as a medal contender in Rio 2016, Bombayla Devi and Laxmirani Majhi have crashed out of their respective events -- both team and individual. Atanu now has to make sure he doesn't derail his focus and also ensure that pressure to perform doesn't bow him down.
Atanu has won a medal in the individual event on a very few occasion in the past, with most of his medals coming from the recurve team event. The archer last won a silver medal in the individual archery event on 2014 in the senior National Archery Championships in India. Featuring in his first-ever Olympics, the 24-year-old has no doubt exceeded expectations by reaching so far, but he knows that he is not done yet.
In Athens Olympics 2004, Satya Dev Prasad finished an overall 10th in the games. What needs to be seen now is whether he can even better that mark. "Different time, different pressure," said Atanu when asked of the expectations on his shoulders. "In any condition, I will do my job."
Atanu's opponent Lee has already won the gold medal in the Rio 2016 Olympics in the men's team event and getting past the South Korean is just too tough. However, the archer from West Bengal has mentioned that he is not ready to back down."I will do my job. One shot at a time, every time," Atanu said in an interaction with the World Archery website.
Men's individual archery pre-quarters: Atanu Das vs Lee Seung-Yun is scheduled for a 5:40 p.m. IST (9:10 a.m. local time, 1:10 p.m. BST, 8:10 a.m. EST) on Aug. 12.
Where to watch live
India: TV: Star Sports 2/HD, Star Sports 3/HD, DD National. Live streaming: Hotstar.
UK: TV: BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Four. Live streaming: BBC Red Button.
USA: TV: NBC Sports. Live streaming: NBC Olympics.