Discus Thrower Krishna Poonia created history when she became the first woman to win a gold medal in Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010. First Indian to win individual gold in athletics in CWG after Milkha Singh won gold in way back in 1958, Poonia took everyone by surprise to lead women’s historic clean sweep in the discus throw event at CWG.
The 30-year-old from Rajasthan, who also won bronze medal at Doha Asian Games in 2006, is currently undergoing training in Portland, USA to hone her skills under the tutelage of some of the best coaches in the world. Poonia talks to Zeenews.com’s Biswajit Jha over the phone from USA about her training, goals and past achievements:
How is your preparation for the Olympics going on?
I am really happy with my preparations. I am working hard and also working on my weaknesses so that I go to London in good shape and do well there. I did not perform well in Beijing Olympics in 2008. So, I am looking forward to this year’s Games.
Are you happy with your current form?
I am picking up nicely. In practice, I am close to the current world record marks. Hopefully, I will definitely better my performances before the Olympics. My target is to go past the world record mark in practice before the London Games.
What are the areas you are working on?
I am working on different aspects of my game like strength, balance, rhythm etc.
There were reports of your participation in US’ Diamond League….
Yes, I was called up to take part in the Diamond League. But later on I found out that there is no discus throw event in the league. So there is no question of participating (laughs). But in the hindsight, it’s a matter of pride for me that I was invited to take part in it.
What’s your take on the government’s decision to send you for training in USA before the Olympics?
It was really a great decision on the part of the government. I thanked them for that. When I was informed that I would be sent to USA for training, I was ecstatic.
How does this foreign training help you in preparing well for the Olympics?
The training in the USA is helping me immensely. The coaches here are very knowledgeable and skillful. The training facilities are also world class. But the most important thing is that I am getting the opportunity to train with the other Olympians and world’s best performers. It’s a huge bonus considering the fact that in India you can’t assess your performance. Here you know exactly where you belong.
Can we expect a medal from you in this Olympics?
After the CWG gold, I know that people are expecting a medal from me. I am also confident to win a medal. But in sports, there are some other factors that contribute to the win -- performance on that particular day, the rhythm, the movement…everything. There are days when things go very smoothly and sometimes you struggle. So everything depends on that very day’s performance.
You won gold at CWG. How is the Olympics competition different from CWG? How difficult it is to win an Olympic medal?
The main difference will be that unlike CWG, heavyweights China, Cuba and USA will be there. And you know how superior they are in athletics. They have a culture in their country for athletics.
How many medals do you expect from India this time?
It’s very difficult to say the number. But I expect we will improve on our medals tally this year.