Indian athlete Kamalpreet Kaur finished sixth in the women's discus throw finals at the Tokyo Olympics and missed out on winning a medal. However, the 25-year-old who was competing at her first Olympic games will go out of the competition with her head held high as she's made every Indian proud with her performance. Kamalpreet Kaur is an inspiration for not only the women of the country but also to every Indian who desires to represent the country in the Olympics someday. Kamalpreet's journey has been filled with adversity and she has faced challenges during every stage of her career.
Here's a look at Kamalpreet Kaur's incredible journey so far.
Took up sports to avoid marriage
From a very early age, Kamalpreet knew that she wasn't good at studies and had to ensure that she put in all her effort in sports. If she failed at it, then she would have to succumb to the archaic social norms of society and get married at a very early age.
Kamalpreet was however determined to write her own destiny and was well aware that sports would be her ticket to getting a job and avoiding marriage.
From shot put to discus throw
Kamalpreet Kaur had started her journey in athletics in 2012 after she was encouraged by her school coach and initially started with the sport of shot put. However, in 2014 she started training at the SAI centre in Badal as she began to take the sport more seriously. It was here where she made the switch from shot put to discus throw after a suggestion from the coach at the centre, Preethpal Maru, who himself was a discus thrower.
Kamalpreet Kaur also joined the Indian Railways where she works as a clerk and also represents them in the national competition.
Roller coaster ride to Tokyo Olympics
The COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the Olympics getting delayed, took a massive toll on Kamalpreet's mental health as she started playing cricket in an effort to cope with depression and things looked really bleak for the athlete. However, Kamalpreet ensured that this doesn't drown her as she came back from it in a fighting manner.
One year later, Kamalpreet Kaur qualified for Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 65.06m at the Federation Cup in March. In the process, she also broke the national record and became the first-ever woman to hit the 65m mark. She bettered her own national record two months later when she threw a 66.59m during the Indian Grand Prix-4.
But her success and joy were spoiled very quickly as fellow Indian discus thrower Seema Punia had sought a hyperandrogenism test on Kamalpreet Kaur raising questions about Kaur's genuineness. One could only imagine what impact this would've had on Kaur's mental health with the games just a month away.
However, Kamalpreet once again would not let this bring her down as she performed brilliantly at the Tokyo Olympics. She hit the 64m mark in qualification and advanced to the finals as the second-best discus thrower.