'I was listening to her full-time. She was pushing me: 'believe in myself', 'you can do it', 'just stay calm and handle the situation'
Indian archer Atanu Das expressed disappointment at being denied the chance to play the mixed team event with his world No. 1 wife Deepika Kumari, whom he credited for his stunning victory over two-time Olympic champion Oh Jin Hyek in the men’s individual even at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.
A week after their mixed team partnership was split up, the duo's bonding was well-evident during Das's upset last-32 victory over Oh Jin Hyek, who had won the men's team gold at the Games earlier.
Deepika vociferously cheered her husband from the gallery as he rallied from 2-4 down to prevail in the shoot-off.
The duo remains the only Indian archers in medal reckoning after advancing to the pre-quarter-finals in their individual events.
“I was listening to her full-time. She was pushing me: 'believe in myself', 'you can do it', 'just stay calm and handle the situation'," said Das, at the mixed zone after his 6-5 (10-9) win.
"She is world number one and I'm privileged to have my wife in this competition. It was great support and motivation for me."
Das was denied a chance to recreate his chemistry with Deepika in the mixed pair section after he slipped four places behind Olympian debutant Pravin Jadhav, who stood 31st in the ranking round.
The Indian think tank went by the rankings, ignoring the star couple's gold medal feat at the Paris World Cup, less than a month back.
The duo of Jadhav and Deepika, pairing up for the first time, made a quarter-final exit, going down to their Korean opponents.
"I expected to play with her in the mixed team but, unfortunately, it was not possible. I don't know why...," Das said.
"But it's quite satisfying (as we both are in the last-16). We are giving our best. Let's see what happens."
He next faces home favourite Takaharu Furukawa, an individual silver medalist at London 2012 and a team bronze medalist at the ongoing Games.
Das and Deepika, who tied the knot in June last year following a two-year courtship, are the first Indian couple to take part in the same discipline at an Olympic Games.
Asked whether they stay together at the Games Village, he replied: “I stay with the men's team. She stays separately in the Village, but most of the time we are together.
"Please pray for us, please encourage us. We need your support and hopefully we'll come out with the flying colours."