Common-wealth Games gold medallist and India's new discus champion Krishna Poonia accepted world champion Dani Samuels' challenge of a whopping $20,000 winner-takes-all contest.
Krishna, who won gold at the Commonwealth Games (CWG) leading a historic clean sweep for India in the discus throw final, said her focus is on the Asian Games and if Samuels wants to challenge her, the Australian should visit India.
Samuels, who pulled out of the Commonwealth Games at the last minute citing health and safety concerns, threw the challenge following Krishna's comment that the Australian's “poor form” was the actual reason behind the world champion's decision to skip the meet.
“I am not kicked about the $20,000 prize money. My focus is on winning the gold for India at the Asian Games. But I am ready for any such challenge. If she (Dani) wants to compete with me before the Asian Games then she should come to India,” Poonia said.
Poonia's coach and husband Virender Poonia also said that they were aiming at the Asian Games and they do not want to be distracted at this moment.
“It is considered the biggest event after the Olympics and she (Dani) did not compete. If the Australian cricketers can come and play here, why can't she. We are aiming to win medal at the Asian Games. After the Asian Games, the contest can be held anywhere,” said Virender, a former hammer thrower.
Meanwhile Hayden Knowles, who coaches Samuels, said the Australian athlete skipped the CWG because she feared she might get sick.
Knowles, who coaches Samuels, described Krishna's feat as “fantastic” and invited her for the contest.
“It could be enormous,” Sydney Morning Herald quoted Samuels's manager, Hayden Knowles, as saying.
“It could be like a boxing match. The Indian girl started it in the press, the Australian wants quality competition. The great thing is there's no need to generate hype, it's there and it's real.”
“A sponsor has offered $20,000 winner-takes-all, making it the biggest cash prize for a discus event in the world. The prestigious Diamond League offers $10,000 prize money, well we've doubled that to give Poonia her shot at the champ.”