CWG athletics: Poonia breaks 52-year gold jinx, India sweeps women’s discusBy IANS
Monday, October 11, 2010
NEW DELHI - It was a fairy tale outing for India in the athletics arena Monday as woman discus thrower Krishna Poonia broke a 52-year jinx to win a gold at the Commonwealth Games. The hosts made a clean sweep of medals in the event - their first such feat in any sport at the Games.
Celebrations erupted at the majestic Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here as Poonia ensured a top podium finish by hurling the discus to a distance of 61.51 metres. Her team-mate Harwant Kaur took the silver with a 60.16 m throw and Seema Antil completed a 1-2-3 by grabbing the bronze, courtesy a 58.46 metre effort.
The last time such a feat was achieved was 37 years ago by the Indian men’s trio of shot putters Jugraj Singh, Gurdeep Singh and Bahadur Singh Chouhan at the Asian Championships at Manila.
It was a memorable evening for the around 35,000 spectators at the stadium, as the air reverberated with the lilting notes of India’s national anthem that was played at the Games athletics event for the first time since ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh’s golden run in the 400 metres at Cardiff in 1958.
After having brought the country only its second gold in Commonwealth Games athletics and etching her name in Games history as the first Indian woman yellow metal winner, an ecstatic Poonia said: “I can’t express my happiness at the support I see all around. I enjoyed it and I thank all the people who came to support me.”
The 28-year-old, who hails from Gagarwas village in Churu district of Rajasthan, ensured her victory with the first throw. Though, thereafter, she had three foul throws, and covered lesser distances with the other two attempts, Poonia’s first effort enabled her to stay clear of the field.
Punjab girl Harwant, about two years senior to Krishna, got the silver medal winning throw in her third attempt.
“I didn’t do my best but I am happy that I won Silver,” she told media persons soon after her success.
It was also a historic day for Seema Antil, who became the first Indian athlete to win medals in back-to-back Commonwealth Games after her silver winning effort at Melbourne four years ago.
The 27-year-old girl from Haryana’s Sonepat said she was extremely happy, though her performance was below par. ‘It was the crowd which won the medal for us.’