Asian Games discus gold-medallist angry at critics undermining her achievements
New Delhi: Livid with detractors for casting aspersions on her achievements because of a dope-tainted past, Asian Games gold medallist discus thrower Seema Punia yesterday said she has been “ill-treated” by authorities, including the national federation, for many years now.
Seema Punia celebrates her gold-medal winning performance at the Asian Games. Pic/Getty Images.
Seema, who won gold in the just-concluded Incheon Games, said despite being a top performer for the country in the past 14 years, she received step-motherly treatment from the authorities.
“I am a junior World Championships medallist. I have won medals in three successive Commonwealth Games (2006 to 2014) before I won a gold in Incheon. I have brought laurels for the country for the past more than a decade in my long career and I thought I deserved better treatment but I have been looked upon with suspicion whenever I have achieved something. This is not fair,” 31-year-old said.
Seema was stripped off her gold medal in the 2000 World Junior Championships in Santiago after testing positive for a banned stimulant — pseudoephedrine — though she had claimed at that time that it was due to a medicine she took for common cold while on her way to Chile from India.
She was issued a warning and two years later, she won a bronze in the World Junior Championships in Jamaica. Later, she was embroiled in another doping controversy just before the 2006 Asian Games and she withdrew, citing “ill-health” of her father.
“I will not look back and I hope to prove my detractors wrong. Now my ultimate target is winning a medal in 2016 Rio Olympics and if I do that, I think my detractors will be silenced,” said Punia, who returned home from South Korea on Monday.