A woman’s attention fell on two frightened teenage girls when she was waiting in her car to pass through a congested railway crossing at a small town in Rajasthan’s Churu district on New Year’s Day.
She realised in an instant that a group of three bullies on a motorbike were harassing them.
The tall, athletic woman got out of the car and confronted the louts. The very sight of her reduced the rowdies to three lily-livered rabbits, who revved up their bike to beat it as fast as they could.
But they found more than their match as the woman behind them was none other than Olympian Krishna Poonia — known to throw a 1kg discus more than 60m in international competitions.
The 39-year-old Poonia, whose husband is from Churu, zigzagged her way behind the fleeing bike for around 50 metres and caught hold of one of them, hauling him off the saddle.
“When I saw those two girls being harassed, I thought that they could well have been my daughters. That made me go after the men,” the 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medalist said.
The Bollywood-style chase around 4pm in Rajgarh, a town on the Haryana border, attracted a large crowd by the time Poonia rang up police to hand her catch.
“The police station was barely two minutes away from the spot but it took the cops some time to reach and I had to phone them twice. How will cops ensure women’s safety if they arrive late?” she wondered.
Poonia accompanied the two girls, who turned out to be sisters, to the police station and completed the official formalities such as lodging a case.
“The problem with our society is that there are not many people who would raise their voice and protest when they see a girl being harassed. Instead, they choose to stay mute spectators,” said the athlete who represented India in the Beijing and London Olympics.