New Delhi: In yet another athletic triumph, Odisha’s para athletes shone at the ongoing inaugural edition of Khelo India Para Games.
Jayanti Behera and Pankaj Bhue secured gold medals in the Women’s 100m run (T47) and Men’s 100m run (T13) respectively while Mangat Hemram won bronze at the Men’s 100m run (T13) as well to register Odisha’s first medals of the competition.
Pankaj Bhue clocked an impressive time of 12.41 seconds to finish first while his peer Mangat Hemram narrowly missed the silver medal, finishing 0.1 seconds behind Himachal Pradesh’s Avnil Kumar, with a time of 12.63 seconds. Meanwhile Jayanti Behera finished first in the Women’s 100m run (T47) with a timing of 13.40 seconds.
Following the victory, Jayanti Behera expressed her delight on the victory and extended her gratitude to Odisha for encouraging and supporting her journey. “I feel immense pride to represent my state and win a gold medal for them. I am grateful to Odisha for supporting and empowering para-athletes.”
Congratulating the para-athletes on their success, Sports Secretary Vineel Krishna said, “This is a significant moment for para-athletics in Odisha as we have won our first set of medals at the inaugural edition of the Khelo India Para Games. We would like to extend our congratulations to Jayanti Behera, Pankaj Bhue and Mangat Hemram for adding to Odisha’s rich legacy of producing some of India’s finest para-athletes. I am certain they will serve as an inspiration to us all.”
Notably, Odisha’s has sent a 15-member contingent for the Khelo India Para Games, including Paralympic and Asian Games Champion Pramod Bhagat. Odisha is competing in Para Powerlifting, Para Badminton and Para Athletics.