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  Fed Cup Athletics: Odisha bag 6 medals; Jena disappoints
15 May 2024

Host Odisha bagged a total of six medals in the 27th National Federation Senior Athletics Competition, which concluded at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar today. The six medals include one gold, four silver and one bronze. But Odisha suffered a heartbreak as Kishore Kumar Jena, the star javelin thrower of the State, finished a disappointing fifth with a throw of 75.25 metres.

Promising sprinter Animesh Kujur was most successful among 18 Odisha athletes in the fray, winning one gold and one silver. He won the first gold for his adopted State in mens 200m run with a personal-best time of 20.62 seconds. But in 100m sprint, he settled for the silver medal, clocking 10.50 seconds.

Animesh, who hails from Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh and trains at the Odisha Reliance Foundation Athletics High Performance Centre in Bhubaneswar, missed the opportunity to equal the 200m National record (20.52s) of Amlan Borgohain (Assam) by one tenth of a second.


The other three silver medals for Odisha were bagged by Olympian Srabani Nanda, hurdler Pragyan Prasanti Sahu and high-jumper Swadhin Kumar Majhi. Seasoned campaigner Srabani settled for the silver in womens 200m sprint, clocking 23.89 seconds. She also claimed the bronze medal in 100m sprint with a time of 11.76 seconds.

Pragyan and Swadhin, who also belong to Odisha Reliance Foundation Athletics HPC, claimed one silver medal each in womens 100m hurdles with a time of 13.40 seconds and mens high jump with an effort of 2.09 metres respectively.

Organised jointly by the Government of Odisha and Odisha Athletics Association, the National Federation Senior Athletics Competition, a Paris Olympic Games qualification event, attracted around 700 athletes. Athletes from Bangladesh and Maldives also participated in the four-day competition.

Olympic and World javelin champion Neeraj Chopra lived up to expectations as the superstar of the Federation Cup, winning the gold medal with a throw of 82.27 metres. DP Manu (Karnataka) gave a stiff fight to Chopra before settling for the silver medal with an effort of 82.06m.

Gurindervir Singh (Punjab) and Sneha SS (Karnataka) emerged as the fastest man and woman of the meet, winning the 100m gold medals with timings of 10.35 seconds and 11.63 seconds respectively.

However, the failure of local star Kishore Kumar Jena came as the biggest disappointment of the Federation Cup. Despite competing on home turf and cheered by a sizeable crowd, the Asian Games silver medallist could not even put up a decent performance, let alone winning a medal.

This is the second time within a week that Jena failed to deliver an 80 metre throw. His best throw of 75.25m today was more than a metre short of the 76.31m effort with which he finished ninth at the Doha Diamond League five days ago. It is pertinent to mention here that Jena won the Asian Games silver medal with a personal best of 87.54m in Hangzhou last year. In order to further improve his standard, he also availed training opportunities in Australia.

However, the back-to-back failures have caused serious worries for Jena, who has already qualified to compete in the upcoming Paris Olympic Games 2024. Today his body language did not seem right. He also appeared to be lacking in confidence.

Of course, life has changed a lot for Jena after his sensational achievements at the World championship and Asian Games. Due to many unavoidable reasons, he is no more able to fully focus on his training. Success has also brought pressure of expectations for him. Hopefully, Jena will overcome this difficult period as quickly as possible and shine brighter at the Paris Games.


Gold: Animesh Kujur (Men 200m run, 20.62s), 13 May 2024.
Silver: Swadhin Kumar Majhi (Men high jump, 2.09m), 13 May 2024.
Silver: Pragyan Prasanti Sahu (Women 100m hurdles, 13.40s) , 13 May 2024.
Silver: Srabani Nanda (Women 200m run, 23.89s) , 13 May 2024.
Silver: Animesh Kujur (Men 100m run, 10.50s) , 13 May 2024.
Bronze: Srabani Nanda (Women 100m run, 11.76s), 15 May 2024.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- PICS ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
TOP: Odisha Olympian Srabani Nanda poses with her 200m silver medal at the Federation Cup Athletics Competition in Bhubaneswar on 13 May 2024.
RIGHT: Odisha javelin star Kishore Kumar Jena in action at the Federation Cup Athletics Competition in Bhubaneswar on 15 May 2024.



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