Four-time Commonwealth Games medallist Punia, who qualified for her fourth Olympics with a throw of 63.72m on the final day of National Inter-State Championships in Patiala on Tuesday, wrote to the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), raising concerns about improvement in Kaur’s performance, while seeking the test on her.
Reacting to the Asian Games gold medallist’s demands, the youngster from Punjab’s Sri Muktsar Sahib told TOI, “I am disturbed mentally. There are no such rules (in field events) and players who have qualified for Olympics are tested every 15 days for dope-related offences. My focus is only on my training and winning a medal in Tokyo.”
The 25-year-old further alleged that the 37-year-old Seema couldn’t bear her loss at the Federation Cup in March, when Kamalpreet had sealed her Olympic berth by breaking Krishna Poonia’s 2012 national record of 64.76m, with a throw of 65.06m.
The Punjab athlete’s throw also bettered that of Seema, who finished second, with a distanceof 62.64m.
“Ek player upar jaata hai toh dusre player usko niche lane ki koshish karte hai (when a player comes up the ranks and performs better, the others try to pull him/her down). That’s the case here. AFI gets such cases on a regular basis, and they are backing me to keep my focus on training,” said Kamalpreet, who bettered her own national record with a throw of 66.59m during the Indian Grand Prix 4 in Patiala on June 21.
“I have worked hard, sacrificed a lot to qualify for Tokyo. Such complaints do not matter to me. I am trying to keep myself mentally strong and not get deviated by such things,” she added.
Kamalpreet’s best before two big throws this year was a 61.04m she recorded in 2018. Her best in 2019 was a 60.5m.
AFI on Wednesday said that its Grievance Committee will look into the matter, but Punia’s demand is unlikely to hamper Kamalpreet’s chances as the current World Athletics rules on female eligibility regulations are very clear that they do not apply to field events.
World Athletics clearly defines ‘Restricted Events’ for athletes with Differences of Sex Development (DSD) as 400m, 400m hurdles, 800m, 1500m, one mile races and all other track events over distances between 400m and one mile (inclusive), whether run alone or as part of a relay event or a combined event. The discus throw event doesn’t fall under that category.