Indian archer Atanu Das shocked two-time Olympic champion Oh Jin Hyek in a nail-biting finish to make it to the 1/8 Elimination round in the men’s individual archery event at the Tokyo Games 2020. Atanu, one half of India’s famous archery couple ‘Dee-Das’, is married to former world number one Deepika Kumari, who was seen cheering for her husband from the stands.
Atanu Das and Deepika Kumari’s love story began in 2008, when they were batchmates at the Tata Academy in Jamshedpur. Although they got married last year, they did not start off at the academy as friends.
“He didn’t know Hindi then, so he wouldn’t talk to me,” Deepika Kumari was quoted as saying on the official Olympics website.
As they got to know each other, they also dealt with “communication gaps, big egos and misunderstandings.”
“It was so random, childish fights blew up. Kuchh bhi cheez pe bachpanaa tha. (It was so childish that we could fight on anything). Something as small as ‘why did you take my bottle of water?'” Atanu Das recollected.
Even though they both participated in the 2016 Rio Olympics together, they were still far from dating each other. In 2017 – almost a decade after they first met – that the two archers were struck by Cupid’s arrow. Indian recurve team’s heavy defeat in the 2017 World Championships in Mexico City, the two bonded over a lot of soul searching.
“We went shopping together and bonded well. All our misunderstandings, doubts and differences were ironed out,” Atanu Das said.
Keen to keep their relationship private, they did not tell any of their teammates they were dating. “We didn’t want the other archers and our teammates to know about it really so we kept it private. We only made it public around the time we got engaged in December (2018),” Atanu told ESPN.
Atanu Das And Deepika Kumari had planned to get married after the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. However, after the Games got postponed by a year due to the pandemic, they changed their plans and got married on June 30 last year. It was quiet ceremony in Deepika’s hometown, Ranchi.
Today, Deepika Kumari and Atanu Das are the first Indian couple to take part in the same discipline in an Olympic Games. In fact, they are only the second married Indian couple to compete at the Olympics together – the first being Vece Paes and his wife in the 1972 Olympics.