This is a start of a new era in Indian athletics, feels Poonia

One of India’s top athletes, Krishna Poonia, believes that with the rise of Hima, Indian athletics has started a new era.

Poonia believes that if Hima can maintain her form, she has every chance to bag a gold medal at the Asian Games.   -  Getty Images

The meteoric rise of Hima Das has given Indian athletics a new ray of hope. With the Asian Games a month away, the sports enthusiasts of the country are pinning their hopes on the track athlete from Assam.

And, one of India’s top athletes, Krishna Poonia, believes that with the rise of Hima, Indian athletics has started a new era. “The results have been really good. Youngsters like Hima and Neeraj (Chopra) have been performing consistently. This is a start of a new era in Indian athletics. I hope this remains a milestone moment for athletics and we only improve from here,” Poonia told Sportstar on Monday.

A noted discus thrower, Poonia won bronze at the Asian Games in Doha in 2006 and represented the country in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Having seen Indian athletics from closest quarters, Poonia believes that if Hima can maintain her form, she has every chance to bag a gold medal at the Asian Games, which gets underway in Indonesia from August 18.

“Her performance has been really good. Hopefully, she will win a gold medal at the Asian Games. To be honest, I have a lot of expectations from her in the next Olympics,” the seasoned athlete said.

READ: Hima to receive government funding till Tokyo Olympics

But then, with expectations soaring, the youngster from Assam, who won track gold in the 400 metre final in the World U20 Championships, could well be under pressure. But, having been in the system for years, Poonia believes that it is important to focus on training rather than thinking about results.

For that, she feels that a coach must also ensure that the ward is not under pressure. “It also depends a lot on the coach and the environment around. In my time, the coach would always tell me that poor performances are part of the game. If the training is right, then things will improve today or tomorrow,” she said.

“For the Indian athletes, this is the biggest problem. When they are playing abroad, they are always under pressure what if the performance is unsatisfactory. People often judge an athlete based on medal count, but they are not much bothered about the performance of an athlete. So, if they can focus on their own performances, results will definitely be good and it will also help them reduce stress.”

That’s experience talking.

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