Blog By : Riya Rathore

Asian Games discus throw gold medal winner Seema Punia on Sunday qualified for the 2016 Rio Olympics with a 62.62 metre effort at the Pat Young’s Throwers Classic 2016 at Salinas (California) in the United States.The 32-year-old Seema crossed the Rio Games qualification standard of 61.00m at the Hartnell College Throwers Complex with her season best effort of 62.62m. She won the gold in the event and in the process pipped 2008 Olympic discus throw champion Stephanie Brown-Trafton of United States.This will be Seema’s third Olympic Games appearance, having taken part in 2004 and 2012 where she failed to get past the qualification round — on both the occasions. She is the 19th Indian track and field athlete to have qualified for Rio Olympics. Seema, now training in the United States with funds provided by the Sports Ministry under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme, had won a gold in the 2014 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China with a throw of 61.03m. She had also won a silver in the 2014 Glasgow CWG Commonwealth Games with an effort of 61.61m. She originally won a gold medal at the 2000 World Junior Championships but was stripped of the honour after having tested positive for a particular drug. Two years later she went on to win a bronze at the 2000 World Junior Championships. She won the silver medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and was honoured with Bhim Award by the Haryana state government on 26 June 2006.

She won the bronze medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Discus thrower Seema Punia will be representing India at Rio 2016, with her attempt being to try her best to win the country a medal. Punia made the cut for Rio in 2016 after her attempt of 62.62 meters, breached the Olympic qualification mark of 61 meters. She was the 19th Indian athlete to qualify for the Games.The JSW Sports Excellence Program Discus thrower has been training in the United States of late, and it was there at the Pat Young’s Throwers Classic, Hartnell College Throwers Complex, in Salinas, California where she achieved her Olympic qualification.The impressive 62.62 meters throw is also her best till date. Ace discus thrower Krishna Poonia, who had achieved the mammoth 64.76 meters, holds the national record for the furthest discus throw in the women’s category. She too trained in the United States but failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics after being unable to meet the qualification distance.

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