Name: Manpreet Kaur
Discipline (sport): Shot put
Category: Women's shot put
Qualification: 17.96m throw at the 55th National Open Athletics Championship
Strengths: Took a 3-year hiatus in 2010 and returned to break a 18-year old national record in women's shotput.
Olympic performance: Debut
Past record (best performances): 9th place in 5th IAAF World Youth Championships in 2007 at Ostrova
- Gold medal at National Open Athletics Championship at Kolkata in 2015.
Rio prospects: A medal looks unlikely. Her top score is 17.96m but world class women shot-putters clear 20m+ with ease.
26-year old shot-putter Manpreet Kaur became the only Indian woman to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics in her field.
She claimed a throw of 17.96m, proceeding to obliterate an 18-year old national record off 17.43m, set by Harbans Kaur, on her way to achieving the Olympic qualifying mark of 17.80m.
"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 Games.
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."
What makes this feat astonishing is that her last performance in a major event was at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi. A three-year hiatus following her marriage to coach and husband Karamjeet Kaur meant that Manpreet’s life hasn’t been all about sports, as reported by Sportskeeda.
Hailing from Sahauli village from Patiala and representing Railways, the Punjabi shot-putter will find it hard to win an Olympic medal against women who regularly post distances of 20m and above.
But shockingly the Athletic Federation of India (AFI), in a show of lack of respect, insinuated that the Kaur isn't capable of winning a medal. In an interview with Sportskeeda, Kaur talked about the how her chances at the 2016 Olympic Games were already considered to be nil and thus she wasn't given access to her coach.
“When I asked a senior Athletics Federation of India (AFI) official about taking my coach he told me, ‘You won’t win a medal, hence what’s the point of sending a coach with you?’ I was immediately taken aback by the statement. I mean, who am I representing here? I’m trying to win a medal for me and my country, not just for myself," she said.
Therefore the best possible way to end the doubts of the naysayers would be to go for a medal at the Olympics. But this is easier said than done.
A herculean effort is on the cards if she wants to prove herself. But after going through the hardships that she has, it wouldn't be a surprise of the Patiala resident can beat the odds again.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jul 30, 2016 14:57 PM