Incheon: Discus thrower Seema Punia Antil ended India’s gold-less streak in track and field events on the third day of athletics competitions as she beat back a strong challenge from two Chinese rivals to bag the coveted yellow medal at the Asian Games here on Monday.
Seema ran away with the gold with a best throw of 61.03m in the women’s discus throw final.
Her team-mate Krishna Poonia finished fourth with a below par 55.57m at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium here.
Prior to Seema’s golden throw, women’s metric miler O P Jaisha and men’s 3000m steeplechaser Naveen Kumar picked up a bronze each to boost the country’s medal tally from athletics to eight from three days.
31-year-old Seema, who did not participate in the last two Asian Games and who came here after winning a silver in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, took the lead with her very first throw of 55.76 before coming up with her best effort with a throw of 61.03m off her fourth attempt.
China’s Lu Xiaoxin took the silver in 59.35m while her compatriot Tan Jian, who finished sixth in the last two World Championships, bagged the bronze with a throw of 59.03m.
Seema, who became emotional during the medal ceremony, told reporters that she had been waiting for this moment over the last three years.
“I am very happy to get the gold which I expected to win today. I have trained for this gold over the last three years. I had waited for this after missing the last two Asian Games,” she said.
“I usually don’t perform well in my first throw. But I followed my coach’s instructions today to hurl the disc past the 55m mark with my first attempt,” she said.
She said her silver medal in the Glasgow CWG “motivated me to go for the gold here.”
Asked whether the damp weather conditions affected the athletes in any way, she said, “I wish I had brought two extra pairs of shoes.”
Kerala-born Jaisha won the bronze in the women’s 1500m.
The army athlete Naveen Kumar stood third in the men’s 3000m steeplechase as Indians bagged three medals on the third day of the competitions in the blue-riband discipline.