Poonam- 100 m champion for 7th time in a row

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Bhopal, Sep 19 (UNI) Poonam Tomar of Delhi has set a record by winning gold in 100 metre race for the 7th time in a row at the 47th national senior inter-state atheltics championship underway here.

A participant in inter-state athletics for over two decades, she has been winning gold in 100 m race since 2001. She had clocked 11.5 seconds in 2001, but this time she took longer (11.6 seconds) yesterday due to damp track to bag the medal at the Tantya Tope Nagar stadium.

A total of 600 athletes are vying for 132 medals in 44 events at the championship scheduled to conclude tomorrow.

37-year-old Poonam, who is married to her coach Narender Pal, told UNI in an interview that it is a misconception that women cannot play after marriage.

She had so far bagged medals in 20 international and 60 national events.

Narender Pal says ''Poonam's first priority is sports. She sets an example for budding players, who crave for limelight in a short span of time''.

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award recipient Poonam Tomar was also declared 'Best Woman of the Year' jointly by the Amar Ujala and Dainik Jagaran Group in 2006.

The Delhi-based athlete, who had earlier spent 10 years at Chhatarpur(MP) where her husband was posted as a SAI coach, said undoubtedly cricket remained the numero uno sport in the country, but other sports were not neglected. ''If you target the bull's eye, shortcomings are meaningless''.

''But I am not ruling out internal conflicts and bitterness among players or their coaches. One coach hardly appreciates the wards of another coach. This shows absence of team spirit among sportspersons'', rued the sprinter.

She recalled an instance wherein she was prohibited from using the gym at Delhi's national stadium by a basketball coach.

''I made several complaints in this regard, but in vain. I am very worried about my performance'', Poonam adds.

Like her former competitor sprint queen P T Usha, Poonam has no plan to start a sports academy. However, she offers to train new talent without charging any fee.

She, however, detest the way small children like Budhia are 'tortured' for the sake of records.''They will perform as per their capabilities'', she added.

On doping issue, Poonam says generally, players are not aware about the ingredients in medicines or food supplements given to them. ''I have witnessed cases in which foreign players injected fruits with prohibited drugs to drag rivals into doping charge. Hence one must take all precaution and even refuse water being offered by others''.

Well conscious of the dictum that there is no shortcut for success, Poonam still nurse a hope to bag a medal in next Olympics.


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