Seema Punia qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Discus Thrower Seema Punia qualified for Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 63.72m.

Seema Punia after qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics.   -  Special Arrangement

For years, Seema Punia has been battling doubts, from self and others. There have been questions raised on her continuing to receive federation patronage, doubts on whether she was a spent force and concerns on her continued training in Russia without much public information. On Tuesday, she put all that to rest here, qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 63.72m.

The 37-year old was relieved after achieving the mark. “I am thankful to Lalit Bhanot sir for being the only one from my junior days to keep faith in me. So many had declared my career over, I had to prove myself to everyone in the system and outside. There are no words to explain,” a teary Seema admitted.

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There was little else of note on the final day of the National Inter-State Championships with the women’s 4x100m disappointing in its timing and final attempt to qualify for Tokyo, clocking 44.15 seconds. The men’s 4x400m too performed below-par, perhaps unwilling to push themselves after being assured of Tokyo participation.

Javelin thrower Shivpal Singh, having already qualified for Olympics, could only manage a best throw of 77.31m, pipped to second spot by youngster Rohit Yadav with no one coming close to even the 80m mark. Surprisingly, Hima Das, who had suffered a Grade 1 hamstring injury earlier in the meet, participated in the 200m despite being advised against, finishing 5th in 25.03 seconds.

The results

Men: 200m: 1. Lovepreet Singh (Pun, 21.04s), 2. Kaliga Kumarage (SL, 21.13s), 3. Nithin B (TN, 21.20s); 3000SC: 1. Shankal Lal Swami (Har, 8:46.36), 2. Vikram Singh (MP, 9:15.53), 3. Md. Nur Hasan (UP, 9:17.96); 4x400m: 1. India (3:05.22), 2. Punjab (3:09.84), 3. Haryana (3:13.02); Javelin Throw: 1. Rohit Yadav (UP, 77.74m), 2. Shivpal Singh (UP, 77.31m), 3. Sumedha Ranasinghe (SL, 77.28m).

Women: 200m: 1. Anjali PD (Ker, 24.01s), 2. BIM Jayamanne (SL, 24.08s), 3. Harika Devi (Tel, 24.64s); 1500m: 1. Harmilan Bains (Pun, 4:15.52), 2. Chanda (Del, 4:18.96), 3. PU Chitra (Ker, 4:20.29); 3000SC: 1. Parul Chaudhary (UP, 10:01.58), 2. Komal Jagdale (Mah, 10:10.31), 3. Nilani Rathnayake (SL, 10:12.02); 4x100m: 1. India (44.15s), 2. Sri Lanka (44.55s), 3. Telangana (45.91s); 4x400m: 1. India (3:38.46), 2. India-Mix (3:47.16), 3. Punjab (3:54.77); Discus Throw: 1. Seema Punia (UP, 63.72m), 2. Sonal Goyal (Del, 49.50m), 3. Madhu Renu (Raj, 47.55m).

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