More than two months after failing to win a medal in Tokyo, Atanu went on vacation and spoke to his wife Deepika Kumaric about starting a family to make sure there was more to life for them than just archery.
He changed his approach during training and even traveled to different locations to get back into his rhythm.
On Thursday night, at the Sanskardam Sports Complex near Ahmedabad, the West Bengal archer’s ordeal came to an end as he defeated Gurcharan Besra of Services 6-4 in the final and screamed like a child.
“The coming year is very important for us. This gold reassures me that my preparations are on the right track,” he said.
“You can say I’m an improved version of myself. Thoda chillana kam jar diya hoon (I’ve stopped screaming now). But when I do something big, you’ll see me screaming with excitement.”
The 30-year-old was able to raise the bar after being locked up 4-4 with Gurcharan. He came with two straight 10s and a nine in third was enough to take the title.
Atanu, who had lost in Tokyo to Japan’s Takaharu Furukawa, has since been unable to make the Indian squad and was also removed from the Target Olympic Podium schedule.
Although the 30-year-old is disappointed with how things have turned out after the Tokyo Games, he said the changes in his personal life have also made him a lot calmer.
Atanu and Deepika Kumari are expecting their first child in December this year and he is certainly excited to start this new phase of life.
“After I lost in the Olympics, the burden was too heavy for me to bear. You train your whole life for that one moment. And then when you experience defeat, especially knowing that you were good enough to to win a medal, it becomes too much.
“Both Deepika and I tried to neutralize this by focusing on our personal lives,” Atanu said, adding that he understood the importance of staying calm and not letting anything overwhelm him.
“I used to be influenced by things people would say. Not so much now.”
Since returning to training, Atanu has moved from Shillong to Kolkata via Pune and Jabalpur to try to train under different conditions and has also focused on building stamina and strength.
He has also introduced a lot more variety in his training schedule to keep it from being monotonous and to prepare him for knockout matches.
“It’s very different when you’re standing on that shooting line during a match. It doesn’t always go to plan,” he said.
Haryana took the rest of the gold medals – men’s and women’s team, women’s individual and mixed doubles – to dominate the recurve events.
Their women’s team defeated Jharkhand in the shootout, while the men got a walkover from Services in the final.
Previously, Sangeeta had opened their gold medal account in recurve events by beating Anishka Kumaric Singh of Jharkhand in the individual final.
Akash and Bhajan Kaur’s mixed doubles then defeated Maharashtra’s Gaurav Lambe and Charuta Kamalapur in the shootout to complete the gold medal count.