New Delhi: The unpleasant memories of 2012 Olympics still fresh in her minds, Indian archery's blue-eyed girl Deepika Kumari is desperate to bury the ghosts of London with a medal-winning display in the upcoming Asian Games in Incheon.
Touted as India's biggest medal hope in London, the then World No. 1 Deepika crashed out in the first round of the women's individual recurve event.
"London was a big disappointment for me. There were high expectations from me as I went into the London Games as World No.1. I don't know what happened that day but I couldn't just perform to my level," Deepika told PTI in an interview from Gwangju, South Korea.
"After London, the Asian Games is the biggest sporting event and I will definitely try my best to forget the London nightmare by winning a medal in Incheon," she said.
Deepika won a bronze medal in the women's recurve team event in 2010 Guangzhou Games, but missed out on an individual bronze by a whisker.
"I have just participated in one Asian Games in which I won a team bronze. But I will definitely try my best to win an individual medal in Incheon," the three-time World Cup silver medallist archer said.
After the 2012 Olympics, Deepika admitted that "pressure" took a toll on her.
But Deepika said she is now in a better position to deal with pressure situations. "Obviously there is pressure on me here as well. A athlete will be lying if he or she says they don't feel pressure ahead of any big event. There is pressure on everybody but the main part is how you deal with it so that it doesn't affect your performance," she said.
"I am under pressure but I have to make sure that it is under my control. I have to make sure that the pressure factor works in a positive way for me."
Deepika witnessed a slump in form and slipped to 19th in the rankings following a string of poor show this year, which meant she failed to make it to the senior squad for the Stage I and III World Cups.
The 20-year-old, however, made amends in the World Cup Stage IV, the concluding meet of the season, by winning gold in the women's recurve team event and also bagged two bronze medals in individual and mixed categories in Wroclaw, Poland.
Deepika said Asiad and World Cups are completely different ball game as the competition level in both the events are incomparable. "I struggled a bit earlier this year but I feel I am peaking at the right time which is a good sign. But it is easier said than done because there will very tough matches in the Asian Games. Countries like Korea, Japan, China, Chinese Taipei are the powerhouses of world archery and playing and winning against them will be a hell of a task," she asserted.
"To add to it the rule changes have made every match tougher. But I am up for the challenge and will give my 100 per cent to win a medal here. The gold medal in Wroclaw definitely gave me lot of confidence but the competition level in Asian Games and World Cup is totally different," Deepika added.
What worked in Deepika's favour were her decisions to return to her childhood coach Dharmendra Tiwary and "old and lucky bow".
"Dharmendra sir worked tirelessly with me to help me regain my form. He only advised me to use the old bow, which is very lucky for me and the signs of improvement soon followed. I hope my old bow brings lucky to me here as well," she said.
The 16-member Indian archery team has been undergoing a preparatory camp for the past 15 days in Gwangju, some 250 km away from Incheon, ahead of the Games to be held from September 19 to October 4.
The archers will enter the Games Village on September 19 ahead of the start of their events on September 23.
"Our preparation is going on very well. For the last 15 days we are here in Gwangju and it has been very helpful becuase we have managed to acclimatise to the conditions," Deepika said.
"The present weather here is similar to India but we have heard that temperatures will go down slightly during the Games. But I don't think it will be a problem for us."