Kamalpreet could produce a big surprise, says Krishna Poonia

A 66-plus throw can bring a medal, says Krishna Poonia who quit sport soon after the 2016 Rio Games.

Krishna is the first Indian woman to win a Commonwealth Games gold.   -  The Hindu

She quit sport soon after the 2016 Rio Olympics but now Krishna Poonia is very excited with discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur's stunning progress this year. And she feels that the 25-year-old could pull off a big surprise at the Olympics.

“I was happy when she crossed 65m to break my national record and she has done that twice this year. If she does 66-plus, like she did recently, I think she can win a medal in Tokyo,” said Krishna, the first Indian woman to win a Commonwealth Games gold (2010, New Delhi), in a chat with Sportstar from Jaipur.

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Four discus throwers have crossed 68m this year, two have gone past 70, and there are many more who have been consistent but Krishna, who was sixth at the 2012 London Olympics – the best by an Indian thrower ever at the Summer Games, feels that the global pandemic could throw up plenty of surprises in Tokyo.

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Surprises were aplenty in India too. While all eyes were on former Asian Games champion Seema Antil-Punia, Kamalpreet – who had a personal best of 61.04m prior to this season – shocked everybody with those two massive throws – 65.06m in March and 66.59m in June – which saw her jump to the sixth spot in the world list.

Kamalpreet's sudden rise has not surprised Krishna who won the Sportstar's Athlete of the Decade award early this year. “Every athlete has a time. Seema (the 37-year-old has also qualified for Tokyo) is senior and has had her good time earlier but I think she will find it very difficult to cross 65m. Kamalpreet is a young athlete,” said Krishna, a MLA at Sadulpur in Rajasthan's Churu District whose son Lakshya Raj is a promising golfer.

“And if someone young is doing well, I can say my discus throw event is getting recognised and athletes are coming in. If we don't have people coming, nobody will remember the event.”

Virendar Poonia, Krishna's husband who was also her coach, feels Kamalpreet's arm length gives her an advantage. “Her strong point may be her arm length, that's a main point in discus throw. I think it is longer than Krishna's,” he said.

“Her only weakness is that this is her first major competition, she has not been to the World championships, Asian Games, Commonwealth Games or the Diamond League.”

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