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UP’s bahu Seema Punia eyes gold at Gold Cost

Ace discus thrower Seema Antil-Punia, who is also the ‘bahu’ (daughter-in-law) of Uttar Pradesh, is trying her luck at the Commonwealth Games starting April 4 at Gold Coast in Australia.

sports Updated: Mar 27, 2018 17:36 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh,Commonwealth Games,Summer Olympics
Seema Punia would be hoping for a gold medal at the Gold Cost Games in April.(HT Photo)

Ace discus thrower Seema Antil-Punia, who is also the ‘bahu’ (daughter-in-law) of Uttar Pradesh, is trying her luck at the Commonwealth Games starting April 4 at Gold Coast in Australia.

Seema, 35, who hails from Haryana and got married to former discus thrower Ankush Punia of UP in 2011, has already won a silver medal at the 2006 at Melbourne before winning a bronze medal at the 2010 Games at New Delhi.

Ankush represented India at 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

“We hoping to see her winning gold this time at Gold Coast as she is in the best form of her career,” said Ankush, who hails from Sakoti Tanda village in Meerut.

“She (Seema) has promised to win a gold this time for Uttar Pradesh which is her ‘sasural’ (in-laws’ place),” he added.

Seema, who will be participating in her fourth Commonwealth Games, won gold at the Incheon Asian Games in 2014 which was her maiden gift to her ‘sasural’.

“Now all her achievements belong to UP and we all admire this,” said Ankush, who hoped that after winning a medal at the Gold Coast event next month, Seema would get a suitable job in the state.

“For the last two years, she (Seema) has been running from pillar to post to get a job as she had applied under the special scheme announced by the then Akhilesh Yadav government. Nothing has been done so far,” said Ankush, adding, “Every time she has been told that the process is on and soon she will come to know about her appointment.”

Seema as well as three others, including 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and weightlifter Swati Singh, shooter Mohd Asab and athlete Priyanka Pawar had applied under the direct appointment scheme for medal-winning international athletes in 2015-16.

Despite having a subdued start, Seema qualified for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games during the 22nd Federation Cup Athletics in Patiala last month. She crossed 59 metres, 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.

“She even sustained injuries during the Patiala trials but didn’t let the opportunity go out of her hands. She will do better at Gold Coast as she has been preparing well,” said Ankush, who also happens to be her personal coach.

Her personal best is 64.48m, recorded in 2004. Ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, Seema had skipped the national camp preferring to train in the Russian city of Maykop in Caucasus. However, she finished 20th in the quadrennial event with a throw of 57.58m, way below her season’s best of 62.62m.

Seema, who began her career at the age of 11 as a long jumper and hurdler, later chose discus throw as her preferred sport. She won a gold medal at the World Junior Championships in 2000 in Santiago. The achievement earned her the nickname ‘Millennium Child’.

She was stripped of her medal after testing positive for pseudoephedrine and was again tested positive for stanozolol (a steroid) before the 2006 Asian Games but was cleared by the athletics federation to participate in the Games. However, she chose not to take part in the Games and opted out of the team.

She represented India in the 2004 Athens Olympics where she stood 14th and 2012 London Olympics where she was 13th in the discus throw event with a best of 61.91m. “Much has changed since then. We all should pray for Seema’s golden success at the Gold Coast,” said Ankush.

First Published: Mar 27, 2018 17:36 IST