Kolkata: Railways shot putter Manpreet Kaur on Wednesday became the latest Indian athlete to qualify for next year's Olympics when she shattered an 18-year-old national record en route to a sixth title at the 55th National Open Athletics Championship in Kolkata.
Manpreet registered a throw of 17.96 metres with her second attempt to smash the previous record of 17.43m which was set by Harbans Kaur in 1997.
"I had the qualification at the back of my mind and so wanted to do well here," Manpreet told media persons after the event.
Manpreet Kaur of Railways in action during her National Record (17.96m) breaking effort in women's shot put event during 55th National Open Athletics Championship 2015 in Kolkata on Wednesday. Pic/PTI
The athlete, whose last international competition was the 2010 Commonwealth Games, said surpassing the 17.96m mark would not be a big deal.
"I can do better, beating 17.96m is not a big deal. I did 18.60m in practice last Monday. My next target is to get close to 19m," she said.
Manpreet, who clinched gold in her last nationals as well, trains under her husband Karamjeet Singh.
Speaking about her experience of being coached by the man she loves, Manpreet said light heartedly, "Daant zyada padati hain! (He scolds me a lot). However, advantage is that I can share things with him and tell him about the problems I am facing."
The Punjab athlete, who is currently training at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala, added that she will practice harder and will try to be at her best the 2016 Olympics.
"I think I have to get close to 20m if I want to bag a medal at Rio, hopefully it will happen," she said.