On the 8th day of Tokyo Olympic 2020, a 25-year-old Indian discus thrower in her first-ever international tournament finished second in the qualifying round. She threw a distance of 64m which even dragged the defending Olympic gold medalist Sandra Perkovic behind her at 3rd. In an Olympic campaign where the Indian contingent had already suffered some famous early eliminations, the Punjabi titan arrived with a bright hope of winning a medal. This is the story of the latest Indian phenomenon in track and field, Kamalpreet Kaur.
Kamalpreet Kaur Information
Being an average student in academics, Kamalpreet Kaur loved playing sports since childhood. Her physical competence and interest were first recognized by the physical education teacher of her school in Punjab. When she was in 10th grade, the teacher encouraged her to participate in the state-level competition. She failed to claim a medal finishing 4th in the contest but that moment triggered the thought of pursuing a career in sports. Her father, Kuldeep Singh was a farmer. Kaur wouldn’t have reached anywhere without the love and support her father expressed to let her follow her passion. Despite her mother opposing, Kuldeep Singh enquired the Sports Authority of India to know whether they’ll allow Kaur to train there. When it didn’t work out, he sent her daughter to a private training academy that asked 1 lakh rupees for providing professional training which left him with no other option but to sell his farmland.
According to the custom, girls are forced to marry at a very young age if they’re not good at academics. Things were largely against Kaur as her father doubted whether she could adjust to the hostel life. It’s not easy for an aspiring athlete to convince an orthodox family which struggles financially. She couldn’t have any branded equipment when others had. She knew she had to stay strong through tough times to make her family proud and above all, to prove that her father took the right decision. Kaur wanted to become a cricketer in the beginning and then switched her focus to shot-put before realizing her best event is discus throw.
Path to glory
Kamalpreet Kaur’s progress was slow but never despairing. Growing up idolizing the veteran Seema Punia, Kaur’s determination and hard work cleared her destiny. Her first significant achievement was in the 2013 Junior national competition held in Bangalore where she clinched the bronze medal. She carried on the momentum at the World University Games of 2017 and Asian Athletics Championship of 2019 finishing sixth and fifth respectively. But the turning point of her career was in 2021. In the Athletics Federation Cup, she breached the 63.5-meter mark earning her spot at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. She threw a national record-breaking 65.06 meters, being the only women athlete to breach 65 meters. Soon after it, the Indian Grand Prix – IV was held at her own state Punjab and she overtook her own national record with a 66.59-meter throw.
Even among the women athletes taking part in the Tokyo Olympics, Kamalpreet Kaur wasn’t one of the top favorites to win a medal because there was so much glare on stars like Mary Kom, Deepika Kumari, and PV Sindhu. It was not until the qualification to the finals of the Women’s discus throw event when the whole of India focused on Kaur. The specialty wasn’t just the fact that she qualified, but she came on top of the defending Olympic winner Sandra Perkovic and the current World Champion Yaime Perez in the group stage. The only athlete who bettered Kaur was Valarie Allman of USA. Her idol Seema Punia got eliminated in the qualification round. Tokyo 2020 would likely be the passing of legacy in Indian women’s discus throw. We hope it’s the making of a legendary Indian athlete who could bag several medals and championships in the upcoming competitions.
Kamalpreet Kaur Achievements
- First Indian woman to breach the 65m barriers in the discus throw.
- 6th in the discus throw at Tokyo Olympics 2020.
- National record in the discus throw with an attempt of 65.06 m
- Gold medal at the Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championship 2019
- 2013: Bronze medal at the Junior Nationals at Bangalore.
- 2017: Sixth at the World University Games.
- 2019: Fifth at Asian Athletics Championships, Doha.
Kamalpreet Kaur Facts
- She loves Aloo paratha & Paneer
- Earlier, she uses to eat 7-8 parathas
- She is supported by GoSports Foundation.
Kamalpreet Kaur In Tokyo Olympics 2020
Kamalpreet Kaur finished a sixth in her first Olympics Games with a best throw of 63.70m in a rain-interrupted final.
Kamalpreet Kaur Twitter
She's done it! 🇮🇳
Here's how India's #KamalpreetKaur made a superb throw of 64.00m qualifying for finals | Women's Discus Throw #Cheer4India #TokyoOlympics2020 @ianuragthakur@Media_SAI @IndiaSports pic.twitter.com/3YKD0T8qMg
— DD News (@DDNewslive) July 31, 2021
After a slow start with a throw of 60.29m, Kamalpreet Kaur pulled out a monster throw of 64m in her third attempt to qualify for the final of women's discus throw event! 👏#StrongerTogether | #UnitedByEmotion pic.twitter.com/BwO8cIMgF4
— #Tokyo2020 for India (@Tokyo2020hi) July 31, 2021
Kamalpreet Kaur has qualified for Women’s Discus Throw finals at #Tokyo2020
India has never won an Olympic Medal in Athletics. All our athletes are trying their best. But I'm looking for history from 3 Athletes. Watch out for #KamalpreetKaur on 2nd August. #Cheer4India 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/V6LY4OXNVw
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) July 31, 2021