By David Morton, 23rd March, 2014.
The PYKKA National competitions in weightlifting, judo and football were held in Ranchi, Jharkhand in mid-March 2014. A prestigious event in the competition calendar, the Khel Vikas project was proudly able to support eight of its weightlifters in representing Odisha state alongside one senior weightlifter travelling for leadership experience, and one lifter from the esteemed Beer Hanuman Club in Berhampur.
At the event, all of the lifters performed admirably, reaching their previous bests in a highly pressurised atmosphere and facing some exceptionally tough competition. The mental fortitude shown by the team was exceptional, as epitomised by Jyoti Badamundi, Anita Behera and Prashanta Badamundi who achieved new Personal Bests (PB’s) of 42 kg, 45 kg and 82 kg respectively in the Clean and Jerk.
The best news came fairly early in the competition with Pinki Nayak claiming gold in the girls’ 48 kg category on just her second good lift in Clean and Jerk.
Prashanta Badamundi followed up this achievement with an unexpected bronze in the boys’ 50 kg where he overhauled a 4 kg deficit to climb from 5th position with a PB in his final lift.
Pinki, who also achieved a bronze medal at the School National Competition earlier in the season, is beginning to show some real promise and targets are now being set for the forthcoming season to ensure that she fulfils her potential.
In fact, the future looks very bright for these eight lifters, as well as the entirety of the Khel Vikas weightlifting team. Whilst there has been sustained success at the district and state level, this is the first national gold that an athlete from the program has achieved. And with the promise shown by the athletes in their first competitive season, it would not be a leap to envision more success for these talented students from the Khel Vikas Kankia Academy in the seasons to come.
The Khel Vikas Project is conducted in partnership between Pro Sport Development and Gram Vikas, providing children from underprivileged and tribal backgrounds in Odisha with sporting education and opportunities.Published 25 Mar 2014, 19:16 IST