Shot putter Manpreet Kaur shone in the first leg of the Asian Grand Prix in Jinhua, China, bagging the No 1 spot in the world rankings.
On Monday, April 24, Manpreet cinched the gold medal and broke her own 2015 national record. Her throw at 18.86m is placed as the world’s leading throw now, overturning her earlier national record of 17.96m.
The 26-year-old athlete took the top spot after edging past Olympic champion Michelle Carter of USA. Carter is now on the second spot with her best throw of this season, 18.54m, recorded on April 15, in Austin.
“I started practice less than a year after I became a mother. I was lucky because my in-laws encouraged me to take up the sport again. My husband is my coach and so I have family support to fall back on,” Manpreet said on Monday from Jinhua, Indian Express reported
Kaur, who is from Ambala, is now qualified for the IAAF World Championships, scheduled to be held in August in London.
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“She had to undergo a caesarean and there were post-pregnancy complications. It was very challenging for Manpreet to get back to throwing. Physically, it was not easy because shot put is a ‘power’ discipline. Her muscles and body had undergone changes after giving birth. However, she was keen to return to the sport and I supported her,” husband Karamjit Singh recalls.
“Today’s (April 24) performance proves that I am improving. My target this year is to cross the 19-metre mark. This is the first competition of the season and I am sure I will get better as the season progresses,” Manpreet says.
The national champion with her stellar performance has raised the bar high for the Indian camp. At the end, India won seven medals, including 1 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze.
Meanwhile, India’s world junior champion in javelin throw — Neeraj Chopra — won a silver. Also, India has taken home two silver medals in the two-lap race, with Tintu Lukka clocking 2:03.59 secs in the women’s event, while Jinson Johnson’s time was 1:50.71 secs. Long jumper Neena Varakil also clinched silver with a jump of 6.46m. The national record holder in 100m sprint, Dutee Chand, clocked 11.59 secs and won bronze for the team.
Shot putter Om Prakash settled for bronze with a distance of 18.41m.
Manpreet had set her previous best, 17.96m, in 2015 during the Open National meet in Kolkata. She then missed the Rio Olympics by a whisker and wasn’t able to sustain with her personal best. Her best throw at the Rio Games was 17.06m and she overall finished 23rd while only the top 12 qualified for the final. She also won the gold at the South Asian Games in Guwahati in 2016.
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Feature Image Credit: India For Sports
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