Krishna Poonia finished seventh with a fifth round effort of 63.62m in women’s discus on Saturday. This was her best performance in a global meet in a career spanning 12 years.
“I have no excuses. Everything was all right. Even the weather was brilliant,” said the 35-year-old Indian, gold medallist in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
She was, however, quite disappointed. “It feels bad [to finish seventh] after millions of your countrymen have been hoping and praying for you. Having worked so hard, it is bad that you can’t deliver your best,” Poonia said.
Though it was a distant possibility, Poonia had been hoping for a medal.
Sandra Perkovic won Croatia’s first-ever athletics gold, throwing 69.11m, a National record, in the third round. Season leader Darya Pishchalnikova of Russia claimed the silver with 67.56m, while World champion Li Yanfeng of China (67.22m) was third.
Twenty-two-year-old Perkovic broke into tears as she finished the competition. As the most consistent thrower in the season, with seven throws over 66 metres, she was always the favourite. She had set her earlier National record of 68.24 while winning the Diamond League title in Shanghai last May.
“I almost died twice when my appendix broke and I lost 25 kilos. But, after four months I came back and started winning championships. Now I am an Olympic champion. I am so happy,” said Perkovic.
Defending champion Stephanie Brown-Trafton of the US finished eighthwith 63.01m while former world champion Dani Samuels of Australia came12th and last in the final with 60.40m.
Before the Games began, Poonia and husband-coach Virendar Poonia felt that she would touch 65m, sufficient for a medal, based on the results of the last Olympics where the gold went for 64.74m and the last World championships where the bronze winner threw 65.73m.
But, it was always an uphill task since eight women were ahead of Poonia in the season lists despite her having a best of 64.76 in Hawaii last May.
“I tried to give my best, but could not achieve that. Instead of focusing on my throws, my mind perhaps wandered about what the others were doing,” said Poonia.
It was, however, her best in a major championship, bettering the 61.94m for the bronze in the last Asian Games.
“The technique was all right but the speed of release was not right,” she said. “I will continue to work hard. I will continue to compete. Things do not come to an end on one missed chance, I will get more chances.”