Odisha’s gymnasts Jagadish Barik and Biswajit Behera aim for podium

Odisha’s gymnasts Jagadish Barik and Biswajit Behera aim for podium

Even after training at facilities affected by cyclone Fani last year, the duo is ready to defy the odds & bag podium finishes

Guwahati, January 9: Odisha’s 16-year-old gymnasts, Jagadish Barik and Biswajit Behera, are hoping they can deliver quality performances in the Khelo India Youth Games 2020 at the Bhogeshwari Phukanani Indoor Stadium in Dispur and contribute in their own as their hometown Puri battles back from the havoc wrought by cyclone Fani in May last.

Waiting for their turn to showcase their talent in a packed stadium as the boys under-17 all-round competition got going on Thursday, the students of Radhaballav Mahavidyalaya wore focused and determined looks on their faces. But they were bound by a steely resolve to do something concrete for their training centre in Puri after it was hit hard by the cyclone.

“The turning point for me was Fani which caused so much destruction in our state and especially in Puri, where our training facilities were damaged. I was unable to train for some time and I want to repay my family and my State by winning a medal at the Khelo India Youth Games and hopefully for our country as well,” Jagadish Barik said.

“I took up the sport back in 2016 after the Rio Olympic Games where Dipa Karmakar had done so well. I have trained under two brilliant coaches so far. Pradeep Sahoo sir taught me the basics, and after that, I made it to the Khelo India camp in Kolkata last year, where I trained under Ashok Kumar Mishra sir, who is currently also the chief coach in Sports Authority of India,” he said.

Biswajit Behera said preparing for the Khelo India Youth Games was a difficult phase for the duo. “Fani caused a lot of damage, and not all equipment can be used right now. I am confident we can perform well here and make use of the facilities being provided to us by the Sports Authority of India.”

Their first coach Pradeep Sahoo, a KIYG Technical Official, said the youngsters have the potential to represent India at the highest level. “Both Jagadish and Biswajit have done extremely well with limited resources, but their persistent efforts have resulted in them making it to the Khelo India Youth Games,” he said, appreciating the teenagers for being conscious of their responsibilities.

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