Discus thrower Seema seals Olympics berth (Lead with changing dateline)

New Delhi, May 29 (IANS) Veteran discuss thrower Seema Antil qualified for the Rio Olympics with a gold medal winning performance at the Pat Young Throwers Classic in California, US.

The reigning Asian Games champion registered an attempt of 62.62 metres on Saturday which not only bettered the Olympic qualification mark of 61 metres, but also won the gold medal and beat 2008 Beijing Olympics champion Stephanie Brown Trafton, according to a release from the Athletics Federation of India (AFI).

Trafton won the silver medal with a throw of 60.50 metres.

An elated Seema, who made her Olympics debut in 2004 and won back-to-back medals in three consecutive Commonwealth Games (CWG) since 2006, said: “There is a sea change from 2004 up to now. Discus throwing is my passion.

“This time I didn’t have much time to prepare, but I already have a gut feeling that Rio will be my best Olympic Games.”

Meanwhile, the 2010 CWG women discus champion Krishna Poonia won the silver medal at a qualification completion held at Chula-Vista Olympic Training Centre, San Diego, with a throw of 57.97 metres.

Earlier, late on Saturday, 2015 Asian champion in 800m, Tintu Luka, who has already qualified for the Rio Games, finished in fourth place at the British Milers Club Grand Prix 2016 at Watford, clocking 2:02.79 minutes.

India’s 19-year-old javelin sensation Neeraj Chopra also won the silver medal at a qualification completion held in Putbosstadion, Oordegem-Lede, Belgium.

The 2016 SAF Games champion threw the javelin to a distance of 75.52 metres while the top position was bagged by Dutchman Mart Berge Ten with a winning throw of 77.43 metres.

Amongst the other Indian throwers, Shivpal Singh finished third with a throw of 73.42 metres while National record-holder Rajender Singh finished in fifth place with a throw of 71.22 metres.

Asian Games 2014 bronze medallist Annu Rani bagged the Gold in the women’s javelin throw with an effort of 54.61 metres.

In the women’s 200 metres race, Srabani Nanda finished in eight place with a timing of 23.84sec. Jamile Samuel of the Netherlands took the top honours.

–IANS

pur/vt

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