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Sunday, September 19, 2021

No medal but family proud of Kamalpreet’s achievement

As Kamalpreet made a third throw of 63.70m, the villagers would cheer with some curious elders asking youngsters about Kamalpreet’s chances of winning a medal.

Written by Nitin Sharma | Kabarwala (muktsar) |
Updated: August 3, 2021 2:34:28 pm
Kamalpreet Kaur, Kamalpreet Kaur discus throw, Kamalpreet Kaur tokyo olympics, Kamalpreet Kaur parents, Kamalpreet Kaur relatives, Kamalpreet Kaur celebrationKamalpreet Kaur's family celebrated as she finished sixth in Tokyo Olympics discus throw final on debut (Express Photo: Kamleshwar Singh/PTI)

As his daughter Kamalpreet Kaur finished sixth in the discus throw event at the Tokyo Olympics, Kuldeep Singh made sure that every one of the 100-odd people at their house in village Kabarwala left after having tea and laddoos. While Kamalpreet’s mother Rajwinder Kaur was crying during a video call with her daughter, her brother and cousins headed to the garden in their home to burst crackers to celebrate the joint-best finish by an Indian athlete in field events at the Olympics tied with Krishna Poonia’s sixth-place finish at the 2012 Olympics.

“What more can we ask for if the medal has not come Kamalpreet’s way. She has put us and our tiny village in the prayers of every Indian and on the biggest sporting stage in the world. How many fathers can say that their daughter competed in an Olympics and that too in the final against the world’s best and would return with India’s joint-best finish in field events ever at the Olympics? It’s a day to celebrate for all of us,” an emotional Kuldeep told The Indian Express.

With relatives and friends gathering from morning itself, the Singh household seemed to be hosting a function. Rajwinder and her nieces would perform Sukhmani Sahib path before the event. As Kamalpreet made a third throw of 63.70m, the villagers would cheer with some curious elders asking youngsters about Kamalpreet’s chances of winning a medal.

Another round of applause and euphoria ensued when Kamalpreet made it to the top eight throwers after three attempts of the rain-interrupted contest, and became eligible for the final three tries.

But with Kamalpreet not being able to improve upon her third throw and needing a mark of well over 65m to have the chance of a medal, some faces turned glum. But there was unmistakeable pride at what she had achieved.

Family behind feat

“We have 26 acres of land, including contracted farmland with two of my brothers. When Kamalpreet showed interest in sports and started winning medals at the district level, we thought it was a pastime for her and would subside after 2-3 years. But later, when she told me to get her admitted at the Sports Authority of India Hostel at village Badal, it meant she would rarely visit home. All these years we craved to see her, and today we watched her at the Olympics,” said the proud father.

Between throws, Kuldeep and his younger brother Prabhdayal Singh would also go and check the livestock. With their father Gurbax Singh also keeping an eye on the final, Kuldeep made sure that all the visitors were served tea from fresh milk. “Kamalpreet loves our livestock and whenever she visits home, she makes a point to yield milk with her own hands. While most of the milk was consumed today, tomorrow onwards a major part will be saved to prepare ghee for Kamalpreet. The day she returns, she would ask for aloo paranthas. Kudi ne 2-3 Olympic hor khedne ne te medal jeetne ne (The girl has to play 2-3 more Olympics and win medals,” says Prabhdayal.

As for Kuldeep, he has already started making plans for her daughter’s return. “She was a bit unlucky as rain made the circle a bit slippery and with her weight, she struggles on this kind of surface. But that’s sport. And that’s what my daughter loves and we will support her for our lifetime,” says the proud father as he is called out for bursting crackers.

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