Tokyo Olympics: A glance into how discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur rose to stardom

Kamalpreet Kaur
Srijanee Majumdar

Punjab's discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur shot to fame after qualifying for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics at the Senior Athletics Federation Cup on Friday.

Competing against Asian Games gold medalist Seema Punia, Kaur set a national record after hurling the discus to a distance of 65.06m in her first attempt. She crossed the Tokyo Olympics qualification standard of 63.50m in the process.

Having become the first Indian woman to breach the 65m-mark in women's discus throw, Kamalpreet rose from anonymity to stardom almost overnight.

Kamalpreet Kaur's early life

Born on March 4, 1996, in the village of Badal near the Sri Muktsar Sahib district of Punjab, Kaur turned out to have a natural talent for the sport. As a child, she was not interested in studies.

However, after finishing fourth at an inter-school sports meet, her interest in the sport began to ebb. Her coach Baljeet Singh sensed Kaur's zeal in the sport and egged her on to take up athletics.

β€œI was really bad at studies. There was a state meet and my coach took me there. I think I finished fourth there and everyone told me I had a good physique. Then I thought, β€˜let’s give sports a try as I am not that great at studies.’ My coach was a discus coach so I took up the sport,” Kamalpreet Kaur told the Indian Express.

From village fields to national stardom

Kaur began pursuing discus throw professionally in 2014. She initially trained at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) center in her village.

Eventually, her rigorous training yielded significant results at several major domestic tournaments. She first gave an exhibition of her immense talent at the U-18 and U-20 National Championships in 2016, where she was crowned the winner. She followed it up by bagging the sixth spot at the 29th World University Games the very next year.

Kamalpreet Kaur (Image Source: Indian Express)
Kamalpreet Kaur (Image Source: Indian Express)

Also Read: Federation Cup: Discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur qualifies for Tokyo Olympics

Kaur finished fifth with an effort of 55.59m at the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships in Doha. She had earlier qualified for the event after pocketing gold at the 2019 Federation Cup with a throw of 60.25m.

Road ahead: Poised for glory at the Tokyo Olympics

At the recently-concluded Federation Cup, Kaur smashed Krishna Poonia's existing nine-year-old national record of 64.76m in women's discus throw.

Her throw of 65.06m stands her in good stead, months ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. Kaur will now aim to maximize her potential as she attempts to cross the 68m-mark in the future.

Edited by Sudeshna Banerjee


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