India can win more than one javelin medal at Paris Olympics, says Kishore Jena

March 13, 2024
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Rising javelin throw star Kishore Kumar Jena, who will start his outdoor season from the Diamond League in Doha in May, has said that he "doesn’t see Neeraj Chopra as a rival".

Chandigarh, March 13 (IANS) Rising javelin throw star Kishore Kumar Jena, who will start his outdoor season from the Diamond League in Doha in May, has said that he “doesn’t see Neeraj Chopra as a rival”.

The Summer Olympic Games are just a little more than 130 days away and Jena is working hard towards making it a memorable outing for the country along with Olympic and world champion Neeraj Chopra. Jena, who is currently training at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala, said, “India can win more than one javelin medal in Paris”.

Jena has been making headlines ever since he went toe-to-toe with Neeraj Chopra at the world athletics meet in Budapest last year. For the first time in the history of the Asian Games, Chopra and Kishore Kumar Jena made it a javelin one-two in Hangzhou 2023. Having qualified for Paris, Jena feels medal prospects in javelin are not only limited to Chopra.

“As per rule, three players can compete from one country in javelin throw. That increases the probability of winning more medals in Paris. We are all training hard for the Summer Games and if we can stay consistent and injury-free, India can do better than Tokyo,” Jena said to Sports Authority of India (SAI).

“My season has started on a good note as compared to last year. I believe 2024 will be a great season for me. Practice is going well and I am getting support from every quarter be it Sports Authority of India (SAI), TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) or Athletics Federation of India (AFI). I am sure my performance will be better as I will give it my 100 percent, rest is on the almighty and what happens on that particular day,” he added.

Jena, who comes from a farming family in Odisha’s Puri district, went for an exposure trip to Gold Coast in Australia last month where he was accompanied by long-time coach Samarjeet Singh Malhi. He did different kinds of weight training to improve his core and shoulder strength.

Asked about the target he wants to achieve in the Doha event and about his competitor Neeraj Chopra, Jena said, “I haven’t thought of it (90 metres) till now. I aim to keep improving my results and overcome my weaknesses. I keep taking suggestions from Neeraj. I don’t see him as my competitor. Whenever I encounter some problem I take his advice as he is one of the nicest human beings I have ever come across. He doesn’t hold back when it comes to offering the right tips.”

During the Hangzhou Asian Games, there was a minor scare for Chopra as his first ‘good’ throw was not considered by officials. Later, Jena posted his personal best of 87.54m to push Chopra to give his all. The Olympic champion finally came up with a monster throw of 88.88m to defend his gold medal. Jena settled for silver and more importantly, met the qualifying mark for Paris 2024.

“At that time I was happy that I had qualified for Paris 2024. I went up to him (Chopra) and even told him that I had qualified. He boosted my confidence saying I can post a bigger throw. Like everyone, my aim is to win a medal but that is not entirely under my control and I will go for my personal best at my maiden Olympics,” Jena signed off.

–IANS

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