In an impressive achievement for the state of Odisha, Pranati Nayak secured the gold in Women’s Artistic Gymnastics. Meanwhile, Jhilli Dalabehera and Sneha Soren clinched bronze medals in the weightlifting discipline at the 37th edition of the National Games held in Goa. Jhilli Dalabehera, competing in the 49 kg category, secured the bronze medal with a total weight of 167 kg, including a snatch of 73kg and a clean & jerk of 94kg.
Similarly, Sneha Soren, competing in the 55kg category, exhibited remarkable prowess, earning the bronze medal with a total weight of 186 kg, achieved through a snatch of 80kg and a clean and jerk of 106 kg.
Congratulating Pranati on her gold medal, veteran Ashok Kumar, who is leading the gymnastics contingent for Odisha, said, “She was truly exceptional today; despite being under the weather in the days leading up to the competition, she assured us that she would win the gold and we are very proud of her achievement. Pranati will feature in four more events in gymnastics, and we are confident she will do her best to replicate today’s success.”
Speaking on the Weightlifting triumph, former Olympian and current Weightlifting coach Ravi Kumar commended the girls’ efforts and attributed the success to months of rigorous preparation. “Our athletes have done very well; their level of competition has been very high at the National Games, but they have given their 100 percent despite the challenges. We have been training hard at the Odisha Weightlifting High-Performance Centre; we built a three-month program that was well planned and holistic, so it has been our focus”, he said.
Elaborating on the challenges the athletes faced, Coach Ravi Kumar spoke about the debilitating bout of dengue that affected Jhilli two weeks ago. He said, “Jhilli was a contender for the gold but unfortunately, dengue can be very challenging for an athlete physically and mentally, especially when you are so close to the competition.
In fact, we were not sure if Jhilli would be able to compete. It is a remarkable achievement for her to win the bronze despite not being 100 per cent.” With more weightlifting action to unfold over the next few days, Coach Ravi Kumar further added, “Kanhu Charna Sahu and Suresh Yadav are promising prospects to add to Odisha’s medal haul and we are looking forward to their performances.” Despite being encumbered by a back injury, Kanhu Charan Sahu will be competing in the 81 kg category, while Suresh Yadav will feature in the 96 kg category.
Notably, the 37th edition of the National Games formally commences on Thursday, October 26 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Fatorda, where the honourable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, will be present to inaugurate the competition.