In a double delight for India, Seema Punia and Navjeet Kaur Dhillon won silver and bronze in the women’s discus throw at the ongoing Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast on Thursday.
These were also the first medals won by the athletics contingent at Gold Coast, breaking their barren run at the quadrennial event. For the veteran Punia, this was her fourth Commonwealth Games’ medal and matched her silver-winning efforts from Glasgow four years ago.
Australia’s Dani Stevens dominated the final, winning gold with an attempt of 68.26, a new Games record by a distance of almost three meters. In fact, all five of her attempts were higher than Punia’s silver-winning effort of 60.41 m, which was the Indian’s first attempt.
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Navjeet, a former World youth bronze medallist, had finished second in the Federation Cup to Punia and clinched the bronze on her last effort with a throw of 57.43 metres.
Earlier, Nayana James and Neena Nellickal put up disappointing performances in the long jump finals as they failed to make the top eight and crashed out early in the final. Nayana, the Fed Cup winner, could only manage a 6.14 in her first three attempts and finished 12th in the final, well down on her seasonal best of 6.54 metres, which fetched her the Federation Cup gold.
Neena fared marginally better, jumping 6.19 in her third and final attempt, finishing tenth before the field was trimmed to eight.
Glasgow bronze medallist Arpinder Singh had earlier qualified for the triple jump finals after finishing second in qualification. Rakesh Babu also sneaked through to the final, grabbing the last qualifying spot.
Purnima Hembram currently stands at sixth in the combined standings for the Heptathlon events, after the 100 metre hurdles, High Jump, Shot Put and 200 metres.