She has sizzled on the ramp, has cars and barrels of cash gifted to her and even has an invite for a rich discus throw duel with a world champion.

But Krishna Poonia has not let these distract her or affect her goal.

“Yes, life has been very good after the Commonwealth Games, I had a modelling assignment too” said the 33-year-old from Patiala on Tuesday evening. “But I have not lost focus, my training is going on well. I will fight for the gold at the Asian Games.”

Life had been one big story of sweat and sacrifice for Poonia, the country's lone individual gold medallist in athletics at the recent Commonwealth Games, and the accolades and rewards that followed have only strengthened her resolve to close the year on another high.

“I began training the very next day. Of course, I had a two or three days break but I was travelling then.”

Tougher than Delhi

Poonia is aware that the Asian Games, which begin in Guangzhou on Friday, will be a lot tougher than the Delhi Games.

The Chinese have dominated women's discus, winning the Asian Games gold in eight of the last nine editions, and this time at Guangzhou, Poonia will be taking them at home. The Chinese champion and current Asian leader Li Yanfeng (season best 65.83), the recent Inter-Continental Cup gold medalist in Croatia, and Asiad's defending champion and last year's Asian champion Song Aimin will be much stronger. Yanfeng, sixth in the world list this year also finished sixth in the Samsung Diamond League, the world's richest athletics series.

But Poonia does not let these play games on her mind. Instead, she looked at the positives.

“The Commonwealth Games victory has motivated me in a big way. Psychologically I'm stronger,” said the Haryana-born star, who is 10th in the world list this year with a personal best 63.69m.

Knee in better shape

Her left knee, which had troubled her during the Commonwealth Games, is a lot better now which is another good sign.

Virendar Poonia, her husband and coach, said they were aiming for something like 62 to 63 metres.

“If the conditions are good, she could go further. I think the gold will go for below 64 m,” said the former national hammer thrower.

Toughest year

This will be Poonia's toughest year in athletics.

“We peaked for the Asian All-Stars, then the Commonwealth Games and now, we'll be peaking again for the Asiad. Peaking once is okay, twice is a little tough but peaking thrice…very, very difficult,” said Virendar.

But with the sparkle of the Commonwealth Games gold still bright, Poonia hopes to produce another magical series in China.

Keywords: Asian Games

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