Asian Games bronze medal winner discus thrower Seema Punia will donate her entire pocket money of USD 700 and an additional one lakh rupees to help the flood-affected people of Kerala.
The 35-year-old Seema could not defend the gold she had won in the 2014 Asian Games and had to be settled with a bronze with a best throw of 62.26m.
Seema also urged other athletes to make donations to help the people of Kerala affected by the devastating flood.
“I have decided to donate my pocket money and also one lakh more to Kerala flood victims. They have gone through a lot. I will go and try to serve those people,” Seema told reporters after her event.
“I also urge all Indian athletes to donate at least half of their allowance to help the victims.”
The Haryana athlete said she was suffering from a bone spur in her left foot and will undergo surgery after coming back from Kerala.
“This problem had surfaced at CWG but it was not bad. But now it will need a surgery. Today also I was in pain but it was no reason for my performance.”
Seema’s best throw came in her third attempt which was better than her gold-winning effort at the 2014 Incheon Asian Games, where she had managed 61.03m. It was also her season-best throw but not good enough to prevent a Chinese one-two.
Asian champion Chen Yang of China hurled the disc to a gold winning distance of 65.12 in her last attempt, which was a huge 2.86m farther than that of the Indian.
The Asia number one Chen, 27, was always a top contender in this event with a personal and season-best throw of 67.03m.
Chen kept improving with her throws and was closely followed by compatriot Feng Bin, who grabbed a silver 64.25m, which also came in her last attempt.
Seema also wondered how long she needs to prove herself to get an Arjuna Award.
“Maybe they don’t feel that I deserve. I don’t know what’s wrong. I have also not been promoted by my department in the last eight years,” Seema, who is a sub-inspector with Harayan police, said.
She also requested the Sports Ministry to double the allowance of masseurs attached with the Indian contingent.
“They get only Rs 700 a day. It’s not enough,” she said.
Talking about her performance, Seema, who has four Commonwealth Games medals to her kitty apart from an Asiad gold in Incheon, said a poor first throw disturbed her “tempo”.
“The first throw was a bit too high, it went parallel, so I could not get the distance. I was confident of bettering my personal best but it was not my day. But I will not stop here. I have Tokyo in mind. That competition will be mine and it will not be just for participation,” she said.
At 2016 Rio Olympics, Seema had finished 20th, her worst performance in three Olympics.
Haryana’s Sandeep Kumari had come into the event after winning the National Inter-State Championships in June with a personal best throw of 58.41m but she could not match her performance in Guwahati.
She began with a 53.20m and her best throw came in her third attempt, which fetched her a 54.61m mark, which was enough for a fifth-place finish in the eight-woman field.