October 11, 2010 7:20:03 pm
India on Monday created history by breaking the 52-year-old Commonwealth Games gold medal jinx with Krishna Poonia winning the yellow metal in women’s discus throw to become the first woman from the country to win a Commowealth Games gold here on Monday.
India swept the event with Harwant Kaur and national record holder Seema Antil also winning the silver and bronze respectively.
Poonia’s gold,which she won by throwing the discus to 61.51m,was the first gold after ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh’s 440 yard race gold in the 1958 edition of the Games in Cardiff,Wales.
Harwant came up with an effort of 60.61m,a tad below her season’s best of 60.66m,while national record holder Seema Antil threw the discus to a distance of 58.46m.
28-year-old Poonia achieved her gold-winning throw in her first attempt while her three of the six throws were fouls. Harwant achieved her silver-winning throw in her third attempt while Antil did the same in her second attempt.
The 30,000-odd crowd at the showpiece Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium reverberated with deafening sounds of joy with the three Indian women running for a lap of honour after creating history. An emotional Milkha Singh came down from the VIP Grandstand to the ground and hugged Poonia and congratulated her.
It was a poignant moment for all those present at the stadium with three Indian flags were being hoisted with the singing of the national anthem after Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi and Secretary General Lalit Bhanot presented the athletes their medals.
Rajasthan girl Poonia though could not go near her personal and season’s best of 63.69m while Antil’s effort was much below her season’s best of 59.51m or her national record of 64.84m which she did in 2004.
It was a glorious day for India but there was no competition from the two other medal contenders defending champion Beatrice Faumuina of New Zealand and Elizna Naude of South Africa — as they put up with disappointing performances. The event was also hit by the pullout of world champion Dani Samuels of Australia on security and health concerns.
Naude,who is the season’s leader among the participating Commonwealth athletes in the absence of Samuels,could only throw the discus to 57.61m to finish seventh while her season’s best stood at 64.49m and personal best at 64.87m. Kiwi Fuamuina had been in declining form for the past few years and she could clear 57.79m to finish fifth while her season’s best stood at 61.11m and personal best of 68.52m.
Poonia later dedicated the gold medal to the “all the Indians” who have waited for so long to win a Commonwealth Games gold.
“I dedicate this gold medal to all the Indians who have waited for so long. I am so happy that I have done the country proud by winning a gold in the Commonwealth Games after 52 years. It is amazing. It cannot be better than this. With this clean sweep of the medals I think we have wiped out everything bad that had happened before the Games and we have out united,” she said after the historic moment.
“I had a back injury but my coach supported me and pressurised me to do my best. I cannot express my happiness to all the support I have got. I thank all my supporters,” she said.
“I will prepare for the Asian Games and now we can hope for the gold in 2012 London Olympics,” she added.
Harwant said she was happy that she was able to win a silver for the country.
“I did not do my best but I am happy that I won a silver. We three were always together and so we are happy to make India proud. We should now look for a medal in 2012 London Olympics,” she said.
Antil,however,took a dig at Milkha Singh,who had earlier stated that India would not do well in the Games. “I think we should take the medals to Milkha Singh and show it to him that we can also win medals. My performance was not worth a medal but the crowd has made it possible.”
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