Defending champion Seema Punia settled for a bronze in the women’s discus throw event in the Asian Games in Jakarta on Thursday. The 35-year-old Seema cleared a best distance of 62.26m, her best in six years, but that was just enough for a bronze medal.
Asian champion Chen Yang of China hurled the disc to gold winning distance of 65.12 in her last attempt, which was a huge 2.86m more than the Indian at the GBK Main stadium.
The Asia number one Chen, 27, was always a top contender in this event with a personal and season best throw of 67.03. She kept improving with her throws and was closely followed by compatriot Feng Bin, who grabbed the silver with 64.25m, which also came in her last attempt.
Seema’s best throw came in her third attempt when she sent the disc to 62.26m, which was better than her gold-winning effort at the 2014 Incheon Games, where she had managed 61.03m.
Chen was in lead from her first attempt of 59.61m after Seema began with a 58.51m and looked unhappy with her effort. It then remained a fight between the two Chinese.
Feng overtook both Seema and her compatriot Chen with her first throw of 61.84m. Feng has a personal best of 65.14 but managed 64.58 this season.
Chen though came back and reclaimed the top position by hurling the disc to 64.45m in her second attempt.
Seema fouled the second chance but improved her mark in the next. She was now fighting the two Chinese but Feng remained ahead of the Indian as her fourth attempt of 63.81 kept her in second place.
Seema fouled her fifth attempt and had to go all out in her last chance. However, her sixth attempt cleared only 61.18m.
Seema now has four CWG medals and two Asian Games medal and remains India’s best discus thrower.
Haryana’s Sandeep Kumari had come into the event after winning the national championship with a personal best throw of 58.41m but she could not match her performance in Guwahati.
She began with 53.20m and her best throw came in third attempt, which fetched her a 54.61m mark, which was enough for a fifth-place in the eighth-woman field.