Seema Punia was anything but happy after claiming a second consecutive silver medal at the Commonwealth Games and the reason was not her inability to better the colour of her medal.
The discus thrower once again finished behind world champion Australian Dani Stevens in the Games and the reclusive athlete was quite simply exasperated when asked about where she had trained for the Games.
“What should I tell you about my training? I have opened India’s account, delivered the medal, why is everybody so interested in where I am training,” the 34-year-old from Haryana, whose dope-tainted past has always put her under scrutiny, said after the triumph.
Before the ongoing Games, reports had emerged of her being incommunicado which were denied by her as well as the national federation. The insinuation of wrongdoing was not lost on her as she took questions on the issue.
“I have trained here, I have trained abroad too. What should I tell you about the technicalities? How many hours are spent lifting the discus? How do I explain things to somebody who doesn’t know the dynamics of my sport,” she added with a good measure of irritation in her tone.
Punia cleared 60.41m although she was targetting at leats 64m. Stevens, meanwhile, set a new Games record with a throw of 68.26m to grab the top honours.
Asked about the shortcomings of her effort today, Punia’s response was scathing.
“I have delivered a medal at 34, at least acknowledge that,” she said.
“I have seen Dani for the last 12 years, you would be stunned by her training schedule and her support staff. The sheer number of people that are attached to her,” she added.
India won a bronze medal in the same event through Navjeet Dhillon and Punia said the 23-year-old needs support for discus throw to survive.
“She can deliver a medal, if youngsters like her don’t get support, discus throw is finished. They should get sponsors,” she said.