Among the many latest sporting successes achieved by Odisha, two medals on the thirty first Senior Nationwide Fencing Championship and one on the 2nd Khelo India Winter Video games have been distinctive. The fencing medals – one silver and one bronze – have been first for Odisha in a Nationwide Championship and eight fencers, principally from Bolangir, achieved the historic success in Rudrapur, Uttarakhand on March 21.
Odisha males’s epee crew, that includes Nitin Swain, Satish Garnaik, Praveen Kumar and Bhupen Singh gained the silver medal, whereas the foil crew comprising Sahil Kumbhar, Herojit Singh, Rabi Kumar Singh and Rabindra Kumar secured the bronze. Although Odisha put up a stiff struggle, it misplaced to eventual champions Companies.
It’s superb that the fencers gained the Nationwide medals with none noteworthy assist. In a sport like fencing, the place fashionable coaching amenities, costly tools and scientific teaching play vital function, Odisha fencers had nothing. Most of them went by way of their coaching at RN Singh Deo Sports activities Advanced in Bolangir, the place the one facility out there was a mat.
However because the adage goes, the place there’s a will, there’s a manner. Right here their ardour was not solely their will, it was their power too. They labored for 4 years, below the steering of two self-made coaches, Sukanta Seth and Karishma Rout, who have been equally keen about fencing and by no means requested any return for his or her efforts.
What saved the fencers going was the overwhelming assist from Bolangir District Fencing Affiliation, its secretary Sumit Purohit and respective households. In fact, the Odisha State Fencing Affiliation (OSFA) facilitated their participation within the nationwide championship.
Collectively they labored quietly and labored onerous, taking of their strides obstacles and failures in addition to ache and paucity of funds. They toiled whereas coaching, however by no means gave up hope. No marvel that they may not imagine it when the dream got here true with the medals. It was a double delight that Odisha additionally bagged the second runners-up trophy.
Within the Khelo India Winter Video games, a four-member Odisha crew, that includes Chandan Mahana, Swaraj Mahapatra, Arabinda Padhi and Sonu Semelia claimed the bronze in males’s icestock sport in Gulmarg, Jammu & Kashmir on 27 February 2021.
This was the second Khelo India Winter Video games medal for the state icestock crew, which had secured silver within the first version one yr in the past with Anuj Choudhury, Hardik Sharma, Akash Kumbhar and Sonu Semelia because the members of the crew.
Although lesser-known in Odisha, icestock sport has been fetching glory for the state since 2020. Earlier than the 2nd Khelo India Winter Video games, Odisha boys Kunal Behera and Anuj Choudhury gained bronze medal in sub-junior class of the seventh Nationwide Icestock Sport Championship, held in Gulmarg from 29 to 31 January, 2021.
However, just like the fencers, icestock athletes have been struggling to seek out assist for sustenance and growth. Jharsuguda-based Icestock Sport Affiliation of Odisha, the governing physique of the game within the state, is but to get recognition from the state authorities. If the game is alive and kicking, credit score ought to go to multi-tasking Prem Singh Thapa, the state affiliation president, patron, coach and mentor.
It’s unlucky that the fantastic achievements of the fencers and icestock athletes haven’t acquired the popularity and rewards they extremely deserve. The one encouragement that has come their manner up to now is congratulatory tweets and posts within the social media handles of the Division of Sports activities & Youth Companies, Authorities of Odisha.
It should be famous that these achievements are credible and particulars of performances can be found on official platforms. Furthermore, fencing was one of many first sports activities to be performed within the Olympics. When Tamil Nadu fencer Bhavani Devi could possibly be rewarded by a Bhubaneswar-based varsity with a money prize of Rs 5 lakh and a smartphone for Olympic qualification, don’t our personal boys deserve a greater deal?
The achievements of Odisha icestock athletes assume significance contemplating the truth that they belong to a non-snowfalling state. They typically compete within the Nationals after present process brief coaching stints in a snowfalling state and that too spending from their very own pockets. Remainder of their coaching takes place at an impoverished place in Jharsuguda.
For the uninitiated, icestock sport, an in depth cousin of curling and pétanque, is performed on ice and entails sliding a heavy object (often known as a ‘inventory’) within the path of a goal. The game has been demonstrated on the Winter Olympic Video games on two events. Though the game is historically performed on an ice floor, occasions are additionally held on tarmac in summer season.
Odisha is claiming itself because the sports activities capital of India by effectively internet hosting plenty of worldwide occasions, constructing world-class stadiums, establishing high-performance centres and academies, sponsoring Nationwide groups, offering employment alternatives to meritorious sportspersons and funds for his or her coaching overseas.
Even sport disciplines are being promoted, focusing on future Olympics and sportspersons are given advance monetary assist hoping they might win medals for the state and the nation at some point. However what concerning the disciplines and their practitioners who went all the best way with out assist and achieved creditable success?
It might be a pleasant gesture if the fencers and icestock athletes are given their due, thus making them really feel that the state takes care of them too. In any case, they don’t seem to be asking for the moon. “We’d like higher amenities to coach and recognition for our achievements. We’ve got proved our potential with out assist. We are going to do higher if our wants are taken care of,” stated fencers Nitin and Sahil.
“Even when eligible, we couldn’t do our NIS teaching diploma resulting from paucity of funds. We impart teaching on the energy of our previous expertise as fencers and a few data we gained from a overseas coach throughout a clinic at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar. If we get a possibility to endure advance teaching programs, we will ship higher outcomes,” added an optimistic Karishma Rout.
“Our work and achievements typically go unnoticed as we belong to Western Odisha. We’re unable to make frequent visits to Bhubaneswar and Cuttack to get recognition and assist,’’ lamented Prem Thapa.
With OSFA internet hosting the twenty second Sub-Junior Nationwide Fencing Championship at J N Indoor Stadium in Cuttack and Thapa stewarding a 30-member Odisha squad on the Nationwide Pencak Silat Championship in Srinagar concurrently from March 24, would it not not be a great event for the State Authorities to heat the hearts of fencers and icestock athletes?
(DISCLAIMER: That is an opinion piece. The views expressed are the writer’s personal and don’t have anything to do with OTV’s constitution or views. OTV doesn’t assume any accountability or legal responsibility for a similar.)
Extra From The Creator: Does Odisha Need Odisha FC?