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Seema Punia, Navjeet Kaur Dhillon open India’s medal account in athletics at CWG

Seema Punia came up with a best effort of 60.41m, which she did in her opening attempt to win her fourth successive Commonwealth Games medal while Navjeet Kaur Dhillon clinched her maiden medal with her final throw of 57.43m

other sports Updated: Apr 12, 2018 21:19 IST
B Shrikant
B Shrikant
Hindustan Times, Gold Coast
2018 Commonwealth Games,Gold Coast 2018,Seema Punia
Silver medalist Seema Punia and bronze medalist Navjeet Dhillon of India celebrate their win in the women's discus throw final match at the Commonwealth Games 2018 in Gold Coast, on Thursday.(PTI)

Indian women discus throwers have been quite successful at the Commonwealth Games. Since the 2002 edition, Indians have won at least one medal in the discipline, the pinnacle coming in the 2010 edition in New Delhi when the hosts made a clean sweep in women’s discus.

It’s also a testament to Seema Punia’s longevity, who, on Thursday, won her fourth CWG medal, finishing behind Australia’s Dani Stevens. Neelam Jaswant Singh had won silver in 2002 and since then an Indian has figured among medals in the event. On Thursday, Seema bagged silver, while her understudy Navjeet Dhillon won bronze.

Seema, who had won her maiden CWG medal in 2006 — a silver —, had finished second in 2014 too, while in 2010, she got a bronze behind Krishna Poonia and Harwant Kaur.

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Seema hurled the metal plate to a distance of 60.41 metres in her first attempt and then never touched the 60m mark in her three other successful attempts. Navjeet produced her best throw in her final attempt (57.43 metres) to take bronze.

Australia’s Dani Stevens, who in 2009 had become the youngest athlete to win gold at the World Championships, hurled the disc to a distance of 61.39m in her first attempt. She kept improving, touching 68.25 in her fourth effort, which was her winning throw.

Seema said she was happy with her fourth CWG medal but rued the lack of coaching support at Gold Coast. “The Australian (Dani Stevens) had eight people as her support staff, I had none. If I had a coach, I could have thrown at least three or four metres more.”

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“Also, my shoulder was not holding up that well, otherwise I could have gone for 64.65. I had done a similar throw in practice recently,” said Seema.

“I am not very happy with my performance because I was ready for a good throw, which I couldn’t,” she said.

Navjeet, who bagged her maiden CWG medal, was very happy. “When I won a medal at the Junior World Championships in 2014, I got bogged down by pressure of expectation. But this time, I was ready and coped with it (pressure) much better,” she said.

The 23-year-old hoped to get a sponsor soon as that would help her improve. “If I get a sponsor, it would be great. Not having a sponsor affects your preparations. I could have done much more if I had better support,” she said.

First Published: Apr 12, 2018 20:29 IST