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  5. Exclusive: Kamalpreet Kaur eyes bigger prize in jam-packed 2022 season

Exclusive: Kamalpreet Kaur eyes bigger prize in jam-packed 2022 season

The Tokyo Olympic star performer aims for a medal at World Athletics Championships in a season crammed with Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in the queue.

Aditya K Halder Reported by: Aditya K Halder @addyhalder
New Delhi Published on: August 12, 2021 15:41 IST
Kamlpreet kaur, kamalpreet kaur coach, rakhi tyagi,
Image Source : ADITYA K HALDER

Kamalpreet Kaur (left) with her coach Rakhi Tyagi in New Delhi.

After the highs of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur left an impact at the Games with a sixth-spot finish in the final after finishing second in the qualifying stages behind eventual gold medallist Valarie Allman, the new India discuss throw star is aiming big in the new year.

The season 2022 will be crucial for Indian sports as Commonwealth Games and Asian Games are scheduled in August-September. For the Indian track and field contingent, the focus expectedly will be Hangzhou Asiad as the quadrennial event has been their favourite hunting ground in the past.

Kamalpreet, however, has set her sight on the premium World Athletics Championships (scheduled right before the CWG) and want to challenge the best.

"World Championships is my focus now because that's where the best throwers will come and doing well there is a challenge any athlete likes to have," the national record holder (66.59m) told "I am already the No. 1 ranked thrower at both CWG and Asiad, so winning a medal there will be naturally expected of me, that's why I want to aim for medal events knowing I am capable of doing better than what I did at the Olympics."

With the qualification standard set at 63.50m, Kamalpreet has already directly qualified for the Worlds with her 64m throw during the qualification round confirming her slot. She also booked her Asian Games berth with the throw.

However, after a gruelling season ending with the Olympics, is Kamalpreet going to take a break before returning to training again. Not really, said her personal coach Rakhi Tyagi, whose phone calls to guide Kamalpreet is well known during the Olympics.

"We are planning to get back to training in less than a week time," said Tyagi, who couldn't make it to Tokyo due to the strict COVID protocol. "Less than a year is left to go for the World Championships so we don't have much time to waste. I know she is capable of matching the world best and we need to prepare well for that."

Tyagi has been pivotal to Kamalpreet's recent success, especially when the discus thrower took the domestic circuit by storm back last March when she became the first Indian to breach 65m marks with 65.06m throw; shattering the previous national record held by her idol Krishna Poonia (64.76m).

Her personal best then came three months later in June's Indian Grand Prix IV of 66.59m and Kamalpreet knows whom she owes the success to.

"I owe everything to her (pointing at Rakhi). I won national championships before too but never made it as big as to make it for the bigger events," said Kamalpreet. "This almost made me feel like quitting the sport because what's the point in doing it if you don't make it big without all the hard work. But ma'am never lost faith in me and kept pushing me to improve. Whenever I feel restless, she helps me calm down and focus on my performance."