India’s ace discus thrower, Seema Punia has sealed the berth for the upcoming Rio Olympics 2016 with a 62.62m effort at the Pat Young’s Throwers Classic 2016 at Salinas (California) in the United States on Sunday. The Gold Medal winner of the last Asian games, Seema, crossed the qualification benchmark for Rio which is 61.00m with her season’s best throw of 62.62m at the Hartnell College Throwers Complex yesterday.
Apart from cementing her place for the Rio Olympics 2016, the 32-year old discus thrower also grabbed the Gold Medal at this event beating the 2008 Beijing Olympic Gold medal-winning discus thrower Stephanie Brown-Trafton of United States of America.
Rio Olympic will be the third ever appearance for the Haryana –born athlete and she is the 19th Indian to have secured their place for the upcoming “Greatest Show on the Earth”, in the track and field events. Seema previously took part in the 2004 and 2012 Olympics and failed to cross the qualification round barrier on both the occasions.
Seema is currently going through her preparations for the games in the United States with the aid of the funds provided by the Sports Ministry of India under the “Target Olympic Podium” Scheme. Apart from winning the Gold Medal in the 2014 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China with an effort of 61.03m, the discus thrower also had bagged the Silver Medal in the 2014 Glasgow CWG Commonwealth Games with a throw of 61.61m.
Seema first came into the spotlight when she won the Bronze medal at the World Junior Championships in 2002. Her career best throw of 64.84m came long back in 2004 and has more than 10 career marks over 61.00m. Punia had also won the Bronze medal in the 2010 Delhi Common Wealth Games and the Silver medal in the previous Melbourne CWG.
While giving her reaction after securing the place for the Olympics, an elated Seema told to the journalists “There is a sea change from 2004 up to now. Discus throwing is my passion. This time, I didn’t have much time to prepare, but I already have a gut feeling that Rio will be my best Olympic Games.”
We wish all the best to Seema Punia and hope she will make the country proud by reaching to the podium in the Rio Olympics 2016.