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Discus thrower Seema fails to qualify for final round

Seema Antil Punia

Rio de Janeiro : India’s Seema Antil Punia failed to qualify for the final round of women’s discus throw competition at the Rio Olympic Games after finishing 20th with a modest throw of 57.58m under tough playing conditions at the Olympic Stadium here today.

The 33-year-old Seema began with 57.58m in her first attempt and then fouled here second try before hurling the disc to a distance of 56.78m to finish ninth in Group B qualification round and 20th overall as wind and heavy rain played havoc, affecting the performance of the athletes. She was way behind her personal best mark of 62.62m.

The final round qualifying mark was set at 62m or the best 12 performers and the tough conditions made it difficult for all participants to produce their best.

Yaime Perez of Cuba topped the qualification round with 65.38m, followed by Su Xinyue of China with 65.14m. Pre-event favourite and 2012 London gold medallist Sandra Perkovic of Croatia was third in the qualification round with 64.81m.

2014 Asian Games gold winner Seema, who had training stints in United States and Russia in her build-up to the Olympics, thus failed to get past the qualification round in all her three Olympics appearances.

She had also crashed out at the qualification round in 2004 Athens and 2012 London Games.

With Seema making an early exit, Indian track and field athletes continue to disappoint at the Rio Games with only Lalita Babar being able to reach the final round in women’s
3000m steeplechase.

Two other Indian athletes – Srabani Nanda, in women’s 200m, and triple jumper Renjith Maheshwary – had also made tame exits in the first round.

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