Dronacharya award winner athletics coach Virendra Poonia, who had also trained his wife Krishna, feels that among the two contrasting entries from India, rookie Kamalpreet and veteran Seema, the former stands a chance to finish on the podium.
“If Kamalpreet can repeat what she did in India and touch 66.59 metre, she will win a medal for sure. She has continuously improved. From setting a national record in March with a throw of 65.06 metre and then breaching that in June with 66.59 metre, it is a very encouraging sign,” said Virendra.
The Punjab girl became the first Indian female discus thrower to cross 65 metre at the Federation Cup. She broke that record at the Indian Grand Prix 4 in Patiala where she hurled the disc as far as 66.59 metre.
The athletics coach from Rajasthan pointed out that lack of experience at the international stage is a big disadvantage for the 25-year-old. “There are only a handful of cases where athletes have turned up with a medal-winning performance at the Olympics without any prior experience at an international stage. Kamalpreet has no experience of playing at Commonwealth Games or Asian Games or Olympics, and I feel this is her minus point,” he said.
Virendra is not hinging hopes on 38-year-old Seema, who is participating in her fourth straight Olympics. “I feel age is not on her side. And if you will look at her recent throws, I feel a score between 62-64 metres is not going to fetch any medal,” he said. Seema had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 63.72 metre at the National Inter-State Championships, Patiala in July.