Seema Punia aiming for Paris 2024 swansong - Hindustan Times
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Seema Punia aiming for Paris 2024 swansong

By, Lucknow
Oct 10, 2023 10:22 PM IST

There has been no looking back for the ace discus thrower who last week claimed a bronze at the Hangzhou Asian Games.

Determination and sincerity are ingredients that have allowed Seema Punia to consistently push her career for almost 21 years since her first international medal — a bronze at the 2002 World Junior Championships at Kingston.

India's Seema Punia celebrates on the podium during the women's discus throw medal ceremony (REUTERS)
India's Seema Punia celebrates on the podium during the women's discus throw medal ceremony (REUTERS)

There has been no looking back for the ace discus thrower who last week claimed a bronze at the Hangzhou Asian Games. Even though she is 40, Punia is determined to still give her last shot at the Paris Olympics next year.

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“I wish to give my last shot at the Paris Olympics and only then will I think about my future plans in sports. I am sure of making the cut through my world ranking. It would be my fifth appearance in the Olympics,” Punia said on Tuesday.

Punia’s best at the Olympics came at the 2012 London Games with a throw of 61.91m while her personal best is 63.72m which she achieved at the 2021 National Senior Inter State Athletics Championships.

In Hangzhou, Punia returned with a bronze which was her third medal at the Asain Games after winning gold at Incheon 2014 and bronze at Jakarta 2018.

“I didn’t bother to look back to my bronze medal last week. I believe that one should always look forward for betterment. I got the medal and since then it is lying in my bag as I am yet to reach home (Meerut),” said Punia.

“My medals in the last 21 years kept me motivated to do better and I am happy that I have achieved many things in sports which is my passion. Every morning when I see the cabinet full of medals, I feel energised.”

Originally from Sonepat, Punia settled down in Meerut after marrying her coach Ankush Punia, who represented India in discus throw at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

“I wish to start an academy for girls in Meerut as I feel this would be the best way to give back something to the sport which has given me everything. I would have not done anything at the international circuit had I not been selected for the national camp by Lalit Bhanot sir as it changed my life forever. I got ample support from the Athletics Federation of India as well as the central government,” she said.

Punia also owns four — three silver and one bronze — Commonwealth Games medals which she won in as many editions. “I am an inspector with Haryana Police and my case of promotion is pending in court but I would love to work in Uttar Pradesh if given the opportunity. I will surely be applying for jobs in Uttar Pradesh,” said Punia.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Sharad Deep is a versatile sports journalist, who loves writing on cricket and Olympic sport. He has played cricket at the university level and has been writing for Hindustan Times since 1997.

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