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Poonia, Antil high on hope

other Updated: Jun 04, 2010 23:28 IST
Indraneel Das
Indraneel Das
Hindustan Times
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Every runner who sets foot on the fiery-red track, lives his/her life in seconds. For every thrower and jumper, each centimetre, nay millimetre, seems to be life’s precious little pieces that cannot be parted with.

No surprise that athletes, no matter what the day offers, come out to get a feel of the field to get that second and millimetre right on the competition day.

On Friday, a day before the Asian Grand Prix II event, the Kanteerava Stadium was brimming with athletes from across Asia for a much-needed practice session after missing Thursday’s due to heavy rain.

Among them, were two Indian women, trying to put in place a viable strategy to improve their performances that fetched them gold and silver at the Asian GP I in Pune.

One of them was a confident-looking Krishna Poonia, the discus thrower on whom rest a billion hopes for gold at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

The other, who is close on her heels, was Seema Antil, an early bloomer but yet to peak on the senior circuit.

As they went about their chores, the Asian GP wasn’t the only thing on the mind; they had bigger dreams - to do well at the Commonwealth and Asian Games.

Poonia, back from the US where she underwent three months of training and practice, hurled the discus to 59.51m in Pune for gold. But that’s not what she’s aiming for. Her target is 65m. “I am doing pretty well and I hope to clear 65m,” said Poonia, whose best is 63.69m.

“In the US, I have crossed the 63m mark and will do better tomorrow if the weather holds.”

Vineet Poonia, the thrower’s husband and coach, nodded in unison. He felt if everything went to plan, Krishna could peak by the Commonwealth Games. “That’s been our target,” he said. “Hopefully by early July we’ll head to Europe for another stint of competition and training.”

“Preferably, the United Kingdom or Ukraine,” chipped in Krishna.

National record holder Antil has vowed to do better this season after a not-too impressive one last year. “I am feeling much better and though I missed practice due to a back injury, this season I have been throwing quite well,” she said.

Antil too managed 59.51m, which she felt was creditable in her third competition of the season. Her best of 64.64m came in 2004.

The other Indian who will be looking to improve on Saturday is Tintu Luka in 800m. In the first Asian GP, Kazakhstan’s Margarita Matsko had pushed her to the second spot.

The Indian GP, which had 13 events listed, has been pruned to six.

Binu back

National record holder in 400m (45.48s set in Athens) and Asian Games silver-medallist KM Binu, who was out due to injury for a couple of years, seems have found his stride.

“I am more relaxed and have been running very well,” he said. In Pune though he did not compete in the Asian Grand Prix Series, but competed in the Open event where his timing of 47.83 was second overall and first in the Open category.

Sheikh Mortaza of India clocked 44.70 in the GP series “I am concentrating more on 400m and 4x400 relay and hope to do well at the CWG,” he said.