Bhubaneswar: Odisha is all set to compete in the first-ever Khelo India Para Games scheduled to begin on December 10 in Delhi. With a strong contingent comprising 15 athletes, Odisha will be eager to leave an indelible mark on the competition. The state will compete in three categories, including Para Powerlifting, Para Badminton and Para Athletics.
The Para Badminton unit will feature reigning Paralympic and Asian Games Champion Pramod Bhagat along with Deep Ranjan Bisoyee, Nurul Hossain Khan, Gedala Dillaswar Rao, and Subhrajeeet Maharana.
The Para Athletics team will feature, Jayanti Behera, Arjun Bhatra, Lalprasad Soren, Mangat Hembram, Niklas Pradhan, Pankaj Bhue, Prafulla Kumar Khandayatray and Suchitra Parida while Gadadhar Sahu and Chadan Kumar Behera will compete as Odisha’s Para Powerlifters.
“We have been witnessing the Khelo India Games over the past few years and we are very excited the first-ever Khelo India Para Games is being held in Delhi. It is a proud moment for us to represent our state Odisha in a multi-discipline game. This will be a fabulous platform for upcoming para athletes, as they will feel more encouraged and inspired to build on their career in para sports,” said Pramod Bhagat.
Ahead of their departure, Joint Secretary Sports & Youth Services Department, Sailendra Kumar Jena, met the athletes and extended his best wishes to them. “We would like to extend our best wishes to our determined para-athletes representing Odisha in the inaugural Khelo India Para Games. Their resilience and spirit make them the pride of our state and we believe in their success,” he said.
Kamala Kanta Rath, President, Para Sports Association of Odisha also went to express his gratitude to the government of Odisha for empowering para-athletes in the state. “We appreciate and thank the Sports department for supporting us in various ways. Odisha gives equal priority to sportspersons and para sportspersons which encourages our para-athletes to perform to our best and bring fame for our state,” he said.
Over 1,400 participants from across 32 states and union territories including Services Sports Control Board will participate in the maiden Khelo India Para Games which will witness para athletes vie for honours in seven disciplines including para athletics, para shooting, para archery, para football, para badminton, para table tennis and para weight lifting. The events will be held across 3 SAI stadiums – the IG Stadium, Shooting Range in Tughlaqabad and the JLN Stadium