Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], February 7 (ANI): It is celebration time as athletes of Odisha Reliance Foundation Athletics High-Performance Centre put up outstanding performances at the ongoing 5th Khelo India Youth Games and returned with a haul of seven medals.
Talent, the hunger to win and rigorous, top-notch training make for a formidable combination. This was proven yet once again as Odisha athletes made it to the podium in 7 different events, collecting 4 Gold medals, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze making it the best performance of the state in Athletics at the Khelo India Youth Games. In the previous edition of the Khelo India Youth Games, Odisha had won 3 medals of which 1 was silver and 2 bronze.
Leading the way was the 17-year old Sabita Toppo from Sundergarh district, who won individual Golds in the girl's 100m Hurdles and Long Jump events, before winning a Bronze medal in the 4x100m relay. Other impressive performances on the track came from Doondapati Mruty Jayaram, who was the fastest boy in the field, claiming a new Khelo India record of 10.53s on way to winning the 100m Gold. Jayaram also joined Rajendra Sidhu, Mohammed Reyan Basha and Nitish Kull to win Odisha Gold at the 4x100m relay, a release said.
Vineel Krishna, IAS, Commissioner Cum Secretary, Sport and Youth Services Department, Government of Odisha said: "We are thrilled with the performance of our athletes. Each achievement is a call to action for aspiring athletes, in Odisha and India as well. The ripple effect of these victories will drive even greater accomplishments in the future. We are extremely happy to partner with Reliance Foundation. It enables us to provide exceptional infrastructure, training, and support to young athletes at the grassroots level, and help them pursue athletic excellence."
Martin Owens, Head Coach, Odisha Reliance Foundation Athletics HPC, noted: "Our athletes have given their best performance at Khelo India Youth Games, winning 7 medals, including 4 Golds. This outstanding achievement is a result of the collaborative efforts of talented athletes, the visionary Odisha Government, and the innovative Reliance Foundation. The HPC has successfully created a sustainable support system for athletes, fostering their growth and development, on the track as well as outside of it. The athletes' triumph at Khelo India Youth Games this year is a clear indication of the impact of the government and Reliance Foundation's investments in sports."
The 5th edition of Khelo India Youth Games, an annual event organised as part of the government of India's Khelo India initiative, aims at promoting sports at the grassroots level. This year over 5,000 athletes are competing in 27 sports.
-Sabita Toppo earned two Gold medals for her exceptional performance. In the 100m Hurdles, she crossed the finish line in 13.96 seconds, clinching the top spot. She had also finished first in the heats, with a timing of 14.42 seconds. Sabita added another Gold to her collection in the Long Jump, covering a distance of 5.73 meters.
-Sprinter, DM Jayaram, struck gold in the 100m event, clocking 10.53 seconds. He surpassed 10.79 seconds, which he had achieved in the heats and secured the top spot.
-Rajendra Sidhu, DM Jayaram, Reyan Basha, and Nitish Kullu, grabbed the Gold medal in the Boys' 4x100m Relay, with a new Khelo India record.
-Swagat Behera finished second in the Boy's Triple Jump event, with a distance of 14.95 meters to win the Silver medal..
-The Girls 4x100m Relay Team, comprising Jamuna Tudu, Laxmipriya Kisan, Sabita Toppo, and Merymukta Soreng, claimed the Bronze medal in the competition.
The Odisha Reliance Foundation Athletics High-Performance Center, a collaboration between Odisha Government and Reliance Foundation, provides comprehensive support to India's top athletic talent, including world-class coaching, equipment, sports medicine, and rehabilitation. With over 50 athletes trained in various athletics disciplines, the centre has produced good results, including 15 international medals and 39 national medals. (ANI)