first_imgIt was an unusual sight watching Krishna Poonia look so stiff and lost in the discus final held on Saturday night as she finished seventh. Having made it to the big final with a good effort of 63.54metres, one would have expected the tall Indian to go flat out in a world class field.From the time the announcements were being made about each of the finalists and they waved to the crowd Krishna looked nervy.There actually was no need for it as she has been through several international competitions. Yet, when you start hyping her as a ‘medal prospect’ like Deepika Kumari and Ronjan Sodhi, the mind games begin.The average man may think it is good to build the hype, but nobody is worried about the pressure. As each burly competitor raised her arm and prepared for the final in a busy arena, it was a sight to watch.The eventual champion, Sandra Perkovic from Croatia was in her elements as she hurled the discus 69.11 metres to gold.Just behind her were Russian Darya Pishcalnikova (67.56) and Chinese powerhouse Yanfeng Li (67.22) metres as they clinched silver and bronze respectively.As the focus was on Krishna Poonia, from the Indian point of view, the tall and burly Haryana athlete was stiff.Her first attempt of 62.42 metres was an indicator she was not accelerating properly. In a sport where acceleration and the turn helps you hurl the discus a longer distance, Krishna Poonia was slow.It was a trend which continued right through, though none could understand why Krishna was under pressure.advertisementThere are some days when you wake up and feel ‘yes I am in top gear.’ That’s how it was for the Indian in the qualifying, when she did 63.54 metres.But in the final, minus the rhythm, she looked woefully off colour by her own standards. But hold it before you decide to rubbish her, a seventh place finish at the Olympics is not bad at all.Flip through the annals of Indian athletics where you will see the name of Milkha Singh, PT Usha and GS Randhawa, each one did India proud.While there will be disappointment Krishna Poonia did not win a medal as she had a best effort of 63.62 metres in the fifth attempt, she was not disgraced. She finished seventh overall.In an arena as big as the Olympics, so many factors come into play. An evening start is not something the Indians are used to.However, Krishna Poonia and her husband Virendar Poonia have been training in Europe well in advance. “We had been preparing for the evening event for months now,” said Krishna.But the lady was not willing to offer excuses for being unable to win a medal. “The weather in London was fine and I can’t complain about it,” she said.Not many would know that Krishna, who won gold in the 2010 Commonwealth Games had actually won a small battle which many have not noticed.When Krishna won gold in 2010 in New Delhi, Australian Dani Samuels had challenged Krishna Poonia that she was ready to take on the Indian anywhere in the world.Dani had opted out of the Commonwealth Games because of security fears and in London did not even make it to the final. Dani had a 63.97 effort in the qualifying and it did not suffice.So on that front, Krishna has settled scores and is looking ahead. “I am not thinking about retirement though many people have asked me that question. I am fully focussed and will target 2016 Rio. I have full support from my family and my child is also growing up,” she said.There is no doubt the Indian government needs to support athletes like Krishna more and prepare them for the next challenges in 2014 when the Asian and Commonwealth Games will be held.last_img