From Archery to Culinary, Deepika Kumari's Food for Thought to Beat Lockdown Boredom

Kolkata: There's no bull's eye to aim at for the time being so Deepika Kumari doesn't mind rustling up a mean chicken curry which will appeal to the taste buds of beau and fellow international Atanu Das.

Deepika and Atanu, who had been engaged for about two years, originally wanted to focus on Tokyo Olympics and get married once it's over but now it seems early wedding bells for Indian archery's "first couple" with the Games deferred to 2021 owing to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

"Chawal aur daal pakana aataa thaa. Ab non-veg (mostly chicken) banana sikh rahe hain. (I knew basic cooking about making rice and daal but now I'm trying out some non-veg delicacies like chicken curry," Deepika told PTI in an interaction here.

So it's her mother providing some "online tips" on how to prepare a chicken curry which she is often cooking.

"My day starts off with Pranayam and visualisation practice for about 45 minutes. After breakfast, it's time to learn some cooking," she said.

Archery however has not taken any backseat for the former world number one as the duo have made a five-metre range in the hall of their living room where they shoot for about two hours in the afternoon. It's more of a simulation than actual practice which is out of question till lockdown continues.

"We shoot for about one and half to two hours by setting a target. It cannot compensate for the real shooting range. We practice as much as possible and just staying confined to our home."

"The routine at least helps the body remember about the shooting, so that we are not completely out of touch when camp begins," Deepika, who boasts of 23 World Cup medals including five gold, said.

A winner of two gold medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and an Asian Games bronze medal the same year, Deepika is eyeing her third Olympics stint after London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Das, who made his Olympic debut in Rio, will be looking for second.

"The original idea was to focus completely on the Olympics and get married once it's over... But now, with the postponement, we're having second thoughts. We've been engaged for close to two years now. Maybe once the virus scenario eases, we might get married this year," Das was quoted saying by ESPN.

So far, India have secured a team quota place in men's and individual in women's with both Das and Deepika part of the contingent.

Deepika and her teammates were eyeing a team quota from the World Cup stage III in Berlin, slated from June 21-28, before the coronavirus pandemic halted all sporting events.

"I'm not thinking much about tournament and training now. The most important thing right now is about everyone's safety and well-being. We should focus on staying safe and staying at home," Deepika said.

Deepika was part of a 49-member sports group who interacted with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier to raise awareness in the fight against COVID-19.

"We can again get back to work or comeptition by staying safe. We all are just hoping that there's a vaccine ready soon for the virus and everything returns to normalcy," she signed off.