Kishore Jena Says India Can Win More Than One Javelin Medal At Paris Olympics

Rising men’s javelin throw star Kishore Kumar Jena was a top attraction at the launching of the Khelo India Rising Talent Identification programme by the Union minister of youth affairs and sports, Anurag Singh Thakur, at the Sector 7 Sports Complex in Chandigarh on Tuesday. While felicitating the 28-year-old from Odisha, the minister wished him good luck at the upcoming Paris Olympics. 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 Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports (NSNIS) in Patiala, says 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,” said Jena in an exclusive conversation with SAI Media on the sidelines of the KIRTI launch.

“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 per cent, rest is on the Almighty and what happens on that particular day,” said Jena, who will return to outdoor competition for the first time in 2024 at the Doha leg of the Diamond League season in May.

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.

So, what will be his target in Doha? Will it be throwing the javelin to 90 metres? Will Chopra’s presence put pressure on him?

“I haven’t thought of it (90 metres) till now. My aim is to keep improving my results and overcome my weaknesses. I keep taking suggestions from Neeraj bhai. 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,” said Jena.

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 have 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.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a press release)

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