MUMBAI: A little more than eight kilometers away from the traffic-clogged streets of Ranchi, nestled in the nameless by-lanes of Ratu Chati, stands a humble house that is home to one of India's brightest Olympic hopes. It was here that archer Deepika Kumari learnt to confront life's toughest battles long before she held a bow and arrow.
It was here that her family of five had to count pennies and separate the essential from the important, forget luxurious. It was here that her parents slept many-a-night on empty stomachs so that their three children could at least indulge in the modest meal of rice. It was here that she first learnt to dream.
The walls may be plastered over now, but they still bear testimony to the struggles of the family. After he lost his shop-keeping business, her father worked as an auto-rickshaw driver and her mother as a nurse, which meant that school fees and bills remained pending for months at end.
Consequently, Deepika's education was limited to a private Hindi-medium school, whose only persistent memory is a rather bad beating at the hands of a teacher. With an over-protective mother who would not let Deepika out of her sight, the frustrated 14-year-old began to seek an outlet. It was at this time that she got introduced to archery, when she first got to watch her cousin practice with a bamboo bow and arrows. It was through her that she came to know of academies and training and competitions. However, more than anything else it was the thought of getting three meals a day that propelled her to join the Saraikela Archery Academy in 2007.
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Registration date : 2012-05-28
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