New Delhi: India’s champion discus thrower Krishna Poonia, who became the first athlete from the country to capture a Commonwealth Games gold medal in track and field since Milkha Singh’s feat in 1958, at the recently concluded mega sporting event, has another challenge on her hands.
If reports in certain media sections are to be believed, world champion Dani Samules has challenged Poonia to a USD 20,000 winner takes all match. Samules was reportedly miffed with Poonia for making comments about poor form being the reason for her withdrawal from the Delhi CWG.
Speaking to a leading news daily about the challenge thrown at her, Poonia said, “I am not kicked about the $20,000 prize money. I am fully focussed on winning the gold at the Asian Games. However, I am ready for any challenge Dani throws at me. If she wants to contest before the Asian Games, she will have to come to India. I don’t want to travel abroad as it would affect my schedule. If the match-up is after the Asian Games, I am ready to travel anywhere to compete against her.”
A Sydney based newspaper on Monday quoted Samuels’ manager Hayden Knowles as saying, “It could be enormous. It could be like a boxing match. A sponsor has offered $20,000 winner-takes-all, making it the biggest cash prize for a discus event in the world. Sydney’s Olympic Park Centre can host the event.”
However, Poonia’s husband and coach Virendra denied having been contacted for any such challenge.
"We have not been contacted as yet, I am just hearing from journalists. But we are are ready if such a contest is happening," Virendra told an Indian newspaper.
"Krishna had beaten Samuels at a competition at Salinas at California in United States in 2008. So, we are ready for such a contest," he added.
While Poonia has a personal best throw of 63.69 meters, Samules is marginally ahead with a best of 65.84. Both these throws were recorded earlier in the year.