Discus thrower Seema Punia qualifies for fourth Commonwealth Games
Seema Punia is the fourth Indian to achieve the qualification norm for the Gold Coast CWG, starting on April 4 while S Siva set a new pole-vault national record on the first day of the Federation Cup Athletics in PatialaUpdated: Mar 05, 2018 22:21 IST
Discus thrower Seema Antil-Punia qualified for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games on the opening day of the 22nd Federation Cup Athletics here on Monday.
After a subdued start, the seasoned international from Uttar Pradesh crossed 59m, the qualifying mark, before producing a sixth and final try of 61.05m. Her fourth attempt of 59.12m helped her go past the CWG mark, but three throws were below 59m and the second attempt was a foul.
Four Indians have so far qualified for the Games starting in Gold Coast, Australia on April 4. Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, woman long jumper Nayana James and discus thrower Navjeet Kaur Dhillon achieved the norm at the Indian Grand Prix held here last week.
It will be Seema Punia’s fourth CWG. She said she far from her best on Monday. “I am on the injured list, hence unable to do my best here. But I will be able to do better in April,” she said.
Seema first participated in the 2006 Melbourne edition, winning silver. In the 2010 Delhi edition, she took bronze.
At Glasgow in 2014, she again won silver, going on to claim gold in the Incheon Asian Games that followed. With a month to go for the CWG, Seema hopes to make a mark in Australia.
Her personal best is 64.48m, recorded in 2004. “I am not able to achieve that mark as injury has hampered my progress. I am still struggling to keep myself fit.”
Seema had skipped the Indian Grand Prix, held on Feb 27, which she said was a mistake. “I wasn’t aware it was a qualifying event.”
Punjab’s Navjeet Kaur Dhillon achieved only 57.57m, but she has already qualified.
In pole vault, Tamil Naidu’s S Siva cleared 5.15m to improve on his national record of 5.14m set last year.
In men’s 5,000m, Tamil Nadu distance runner G Lakshmanan won with a meet record of 13 minutes, 47.28 secs, improving on Kheta Ram’s 2014 mark of 13:49.17.
It is the best by an Indian runner on home soil. But Lakshmanan, whose personal best of 13:35 was clocked at the London World Championships last year, was off the CWG qualifying time of 13:25.0. “I am very fit, but there was no one to push me. It denied me a ticket to Australia,” he said after the race.
L Suriya won the women’s 5000m at 15:46.96 secs.
NADA officials absent
Not a single official from the National Anti-Doping Agency turned up on the opening day of the Federation Cup National Senior Athletics Championships and national record breaker pole vaulter Subramani Siva could not be dope tested.
Athletics Federation of India officials said Siva is likely to be tested tomorrow morning after the NADA officials arrive. The officials said they have informed NADA about the championships on time.
National records are ratified only after dope tests of the medal winners are conducted and samples tested.