Railways shot putter Manpreet Kaur today became the latest Indian athlete to qualify for next year's Olympics when she shattered an 18-year-old national record en route to a sixth title at the 55th National Open Athletics Championship today.
The Patiala-based shot putter threw 17.96 metres in her second attempt to claim the gold medal, a hat-trick of titles at the National Open after she returned to field in 2013 following a three year hiatus because of the birth of her daughter Jasnoor.
The 25-year-old, who had the previous best of 16.39 at last year's Delhi National Open, said she was confident of breaking the 19m-mark before next year's Olympics so as to give herself some chance at the quadrennial extravaganza.
"The target is to make the country proud in Olympics, it's a long way to go and today I just got the start," Manpreet said after her gold medal winning performance. Having improved her personal best by one and a half metre in one year's time, Manpreet said she can break into 19 metres by Rio next year.
"Getting into 19 metres is not a big deal, it's about translating your performance in the practice into competition. Today morning only I threw 18.60," Manpreet said after she broke Harbans Kaur's earlier record of 17.43 that came in 1997.
The IAAF entry standard for 2016 Rio Olympics in women's shot put is 17.80m, while the top three in London 2012 threw 20m plus.
It was also an emotional moment for Manpreet as the previous record holder too worked in the same department of Railways where she's currently posted.
"She too worked in DCDW, Patiala, so it's a matter of great pride that we continued to the trend."
Trained by her husband Karamjeet Singh, an university level shotputter, Manpreet said: "The advantage of getting trained by your husband is he's constantly after you. Whenever I don't follow the regimen, he screams at me, so it helps me in a way."
She also gave credit of her achievement to her in-laws who take care of her four-year-old daughter Jasnoor while she's away.
"They look after her and ensure that I remain focussed on training."
Congratulating his wife, Karamjeet said: "She's gifted and is a natural talent. The way she has improved in one year speaks volumes about her talent."
Updated Date: Sep 17, 2015 10:53 AM