Pune: After grabbing his first gold in any major international event in the Asian Athletics Championships here today, ace Indian discus thrower Vikas Gowda described the win as the biggest achievement of his career.
"It has to be my biggest achievement. Winning silver in front of a huge crowd in the Commonwealth Games was one of my most memorable moments, but this gold is surely on top of everything," Gowda told a press conference after winning the men`s discus throw at the Shiv Chhatrapati Stadium at Balewadi.
"I have been trying for the last so many years. All the hard work of the last 10-15 years has paid off," added Gowda on the eve of his 30th birthday.
The United-States based national record holder hurled the iron disc to a creditable 64.90m in his fourth attempt to win the gold, though his effort was below his personal best of 66.28m and season`s best of 65.82m.
Gowda said he slipped at the circle in the second round and found a hole in his shoes.
"I was pushed to the wall as I was trailing the Iranian (Mohammad Samini) till the third round. I had just 58.64m in my first throw and then threw into the net in the second. I had to fight back to win the gold. So, I am satisfied with my performance.
"I promptly changed my shoes after second round and may be that helped in my fourth throw of 64.90m as I got the grip on my feet," he said.
Gowda said he has two Diamond Leagues lined up -- on July 6 in Paris and on July 26 in Birmingham before the World Championships in Moscow from July 10-18.
The 6 feet 9 inches tall dedicated the gold to his parents.
Poovamma, who won a silver in women`s 400m, said she was
satisfied with her medal at a major international event.
"I tried my best and I am satisfied with my performance. I was expecting a medal and I won it. Whether it`s gold or not, it does not matter. I was expecting competition from the Chinese and she ran a good race," she said.
"I had won all the three legs of the Asian Grand Prix (in May) but I don`t consider the GP series as major international events as competitions were not tough. I am not going to try to qualify for the World Championhsips next month," she added.
Ratiram Saini, who won a bronze in men`s 10,000m, said he need financial support for his training.
"I am ahppy to win the bronze but I could have done better. At one stage there was a good possbility of winning gold," he said.
"With time, I will get better and hope to compete at the highest level -- that is the Olympics. I need financial support for my training. I don`t have even a proper house," he added.