India's Kamalpreet Kaur finished sixth in the final of the women's discus throw at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday. Kamalpreet's sixth-placed finish is the second best by an Indian in a field event at the Olympics. Kamalpreet had a best throw of 63.70m on the third of her six throws in the final.
Anju Bobby George's fifth-place finish in long jump at the Athens Olympics in 2004 remains the best by an Indian in a field event, while Krishna Poonia had also finished sixth in the discus throw in the London Olympics in 2012.
U.S. Valarie Allman took gold with a throw of 68.98m, while Germany's Kristin Pudenz took silver with a throw of 66.86m. The bronze went to Cuba's Yaime Perez, the reigning world champion, for a 65.72m throw. Two-time defending champion Sandra Perkovic finished fourth with a best effort of 65.01m.
Kamalpreet began confidently in the final with a throw of 61.62m, which was good enough to place her in the top eight competitors. Her next attempt was a foul. There was almost an hour's delay between her second and third attempt as heavy rain delayed the final.
The pressure was on Kamalpreet before her third throw as she had slid to the ninth position after Germany's Claudine Vita registered a throw at 61.80m in her third attempt.
Kamalpreet needed to better Vita's attempt as the 9th-12th paced competitors are eliminated after the third throw, while the top eight get three more throws. She then delivered under pressure with an effort of 63.70m to secure herself a top eight finish.
Kamalpreet failed to better that throw in her last three attempts as her fourth and sixth throws were fouls. She managed to throw a distance of 61.37 in her fifth attempt.
The 25-year-old Kamalpreet had earlier finished second in the qualification round with a throw of exactly 64m, which was the mark required for automatic qualification to the final. She was one of only two athletes, the other being Allman, to throw beyond 64m in the qualification round.
Hailing from Kabarwala village on the Malout-Abohar national highway in Punjab, Kamalpreet was born in a farming family.
Kamalpreet, who is employed with the Railways, has been in impressive form this year. She threw 65.06m during the Federation Cup in March to break the national record and become the first Indian woman to breach the 65m mark.
Then in June, she bettered her own national record with a throw of 66.59m during the Indian Grand Prix-4 to be at number six on the list of best throws in the world this year.
Kamalpreet, who stands at 6'1", was earlier reluctant to pursue athletics, due to the poor financial condition of her family and her mother's initial opposition but took it up after her farmer father Kuldeep Singh supported her.
Singh owns 13-acre agricultural land. Initially, Kaur was pursuing shot put, but she switched to discus throw after joining the SAI centre at Badal.
It was her sports teacher at her school in Badal who introduced her to athletics, making her compete in zonal and district level meets in 2011-12. Kamalpreet agreed but she decided she will not put additional financial burden on her father, who looked after a joint family.
She took part in the U-18 national junior championships in 2013 in discus throw and finished second. After joining the SAI centre in Badal in 2014, she became national junior champion next year.
In 2016, she won her first senior national title, claiming gold in the Open Nationals in Lucknow with a throw of 54.25m.
She kept on winning senior national titles in the next three years before suddenly exploding on the scene earlier this year, when she shifted her training base to NIS Patiala.