Both the athletes performed exceptionally well in the tournament.
Kamalpreet Kaur’s one legal throw in the 24th National Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships on Friday rewrote the women’s discus throw national record and claimed her a spot in the Olympic Games slated to be held in Tokyo later this year. Her 65.06m opening effort did the trick for her, producing the fourth national record in five days.
With a sustained burst of speed, Hima Das with a time of 23.21 seconds left S Dhanalakhsmi (23.39s) and Archana Suseendran (23.60s) fighting for the silver medal in the high-profile women’s 200m final. K Elakkiadasan claimed the men’s 200m while Ayyasamy Dharun and R Vithya Ramraj won the men and women’s 400m Hurdles to ease Tamil Nadu contingent’s pain.
On a day when the men’s Triple Jump competition saw an intense battle, with Karthik Unnikrishnan producing a last-ditch 16.73m and Abdulla managing a 16.59 on his last try to push their Kerala team-mate Eldhose Paul to the third place with a best 16.53m that he had got on his second jump, it was Kamalpreet Kaur’s solitary throw that stole the limelight.
She was not overawed by the presence of the 2014 Asian Games champion Seema Punia. Nor did she let the fact that she had a couple of 60m-plus behind her affect her. The earlier such throws came in the 2018 Inter-Railway Championships in Lucknow (61.04m) and the 2019 Federation Cup here (60.25m).
With Seema Punia coming up a no mark on her opening throw, Kamalpreet could enter the fray without training on her mind on a target distance but only focused on giving her best. She wound herself up well and unleashed the biggest throw by an Indian woman, surpassing the National record that has stood at 64.76m in the name of Krishan Poonia since 2012.
Seema Punia, who has won a medal in each of her four Commonwealth Games appearances and has two Asian Games medals, fought hard to mark her return to competition after the 2018 Asian Games with a victory. She came up with four throws in excess of 60.50m but her best was the 62.64m that she managed on her fifth attempt.
Kamalpreet became the 10th Indian to secure the Tokyo Olympics athletics qualification mark laid down by World Athletics. The mixed team in the 4x400m relay has also secured a berth in the Tokyo Games. Tajinderpal Singh Toor (Shot Put), Dutee Chand (100m) and Annu Rani (Javelin Throw) can get into the Tokyo Olympics by virtue of their World ranking.
Those who had booked their Olympic tickets earlier include Avinash Sable (3000m Steeplechase), KT Irfan, Sandeep Kumar and Rahul Rohila (20km Race Walk), M Sreeshankar (Long Jump), Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh (Javelin Throw) among the men, Bhawna Jat and Priyanka Goswami (20km Race Walk) among women.