NewDelhi: The Tokyo Olympics is just around the corner as the excitement for the multi-sports extravaganza in the capital of Japan increases. India boasts a strong contingent of 119 athletes, including several new comers. At the same time, a handful will play for the last time in the Olympics.
Seema Punia is representing India in the Discus Throw, her fourth Summer Olympic participation. The 37-year-old made a cut in time for the Olympics when she came to the competition at the end of June. In the recent Inter-State Championship, she recorded a lump of 63.72 m.
Seema Antil was born in the hamlet of Khewda in Haryana’s Sonipat district. At the beginning of her sports career, at the age of 11, she was a jumper. Her gold medal triumph in Santiago at the 2000 World Junior Championship was named ‘Millennium Child.’ She studied at government College of Sonipat.
Seema comes from a family of lawyers. However, athleticism runs deep in the family. Her elder brother, Anand Pal, has been an international wrestler. Her brother Amit Pal has been an International Hockey Player representing India at various events.
Seema claims her brothers to be her primary source of inspiration. She got into the habit of training every day and having a dedicated and focused mindset.
Seema Punia didn’t plan to train for the Discus throw. It was all an accident. When she was in the stadium, she got intrigued and threw the Discus, which landed 22 metres. Seeing her brilliant performance, she was encouraged by her close friend and Northern Railway employee Pawan Kumar to pursue Discus and train for it properly.
So, one can that a lucky accident has given India one of the finest discus players of the world. Her dedicated performance and motivation from friends and family led her to participate in the National Under-14 championship in 1995. She set a new record of 28.4 metres and established her name in the circle as one of the prodigies of the sport.
At the 2000 World Junior Championships initially, she won a gold medal. But unfortunately, she lost it because of a positive drug pseudoephedrine test. As per the regulations of such an offence in place at that time, the National Federation issued a public alert to her and stripped the medal.
She earned a bronze medal at the World Juniors in 2002. At the 2006 Commonwealth Games, she received a Silver Medal. On 26 June 2006, the government of Haryana honoured her with the Bhim Award. Her absence from the Asian Games in 2006 garnered significant media attention. At the 2010 Commonwealth Games, she earned a bronze medal. She had a disappointing performance at the 2012 London Olympics, where she finished 13th. In 2014, she won the Commonwealth Games with a money medal and the Asian Games with a gold medal.
Meerut and Athletes
Punia, a native of Haryana’s Khewda village, came to Meerut after marrying Ankush, who also happens to be her coach.
The equipment produced by the Indian companies will also be visible throughout Tokyo Olympic Stadium’s during all the track and field events of the Olympic Games.
Three companies, Anand Track and Field Equipment (ATE), Bhalla International and Nelco-based in India out of six businesses nominated by the sport governing body World Athletics to offer tools for the screening, discussion and throwing hammers.
During the Olympic Games, which will start on 23 July, there will be shot put (7.26kg), discus (2kg), and hammer (7.26kg). These tools are housed in a holding rack at the competitors’ competition location.
Veteran Seema Punia will use Bhalla International’s Discus, one of the country’s largest exporters of sporting equipment. Bhalla International also provides 36 devices, six for each the male and female shot, the discus throw and the hammer throw.
Tips for Young Players
Seema, who has been an inspiration for discus players worldwide, believes in hard work and discipline. She trains for about 8 hours daily without fail and believes hard work is the key to success. She also aims to dispel the myth among young players that you need to gain weight to be a good discus player. Seema says that Discus is all about running from hands and throwing from legs. By following this philosophy, Seema believes practice is what required to improve technique along with hard work. It will bring results and more medals for India in the future.