Blog by: Suryakant Tripathi.
Manpreet Kaur, a shot putter from Punjab who represents the Railways, created history as she smashed an 18 year national record to clinch the gold medal at the 55th National Open Athletics Championships last month. In the process, she also qualified for the Rio Olympics 2016.
Kaur hails from Sahauli village in Patiala, and is currently working for Diesel Locomotive Modernization (DMW), which is a diesel engine manufacturing unit of the Indian Railways in Patiala.
The last event she participated in was the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in 2010, after which she took a sabbatical for 3 years following her marriage to her coach of 7 years, Karamjeet, and the birth of their daughter. Now the mother of a four year old, she plans to continue excelling in her event and making her country proud.
Kaur has had prior experience on the international stage. She participated in the 5th IAAF World Youth Championships in 2007 at Ostrava in the Czech Republic, finishing 9th in the women’s shot put event.Kaur, who had a personal best of 14.49 m in 2006, is now the national record holder in the women’s shot put event. She became the second woman from Punjab to qualify for the Olympics after Khushbir Kaur, who will herself be representing India in the Women’s 20 km walk event. Kaur had a previous best of 16.39 at last year’s Delhi National Open, performing far better this time to almost reach the 18m mark.
Throwing 17.96 m, she broke the 18 year record held by Harbans Kaur which was set in 1997(17.43 m). With this gold, she completed a hat-trick of gold medals at the National Open, finishing sixth overall. She also passed the Olympic qualifying mark of 17.80 m in the process.Both Kaur and her coach and husband Karamjeet feel that she will have to work really hard in order to win an Olympic medal, which has been a longtime dream for the shotputter.
With international level shot putters crossing the 20 m mark, her main aim now is to reach to their level, so that she can also be in the run for a medal. A lot of hopes are riding on this talented athlete, and she can be easily considered as India’s dark horse in the Olympics.
With much of the attention on Inderjeet Singh, only time will tell if Kaur can go on to become the most famous shotputter in the country. She has what it takes to be a world class athlete, and is bound to reach unprecedented heights if she continues to perform the way she has recently.
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