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  • Odisha’s golden girl Jhilli Dalabehera now eyes Olympics glory

Odisha’s golden girl Jhilli Dalabehera now eyes Olympics glory

Jhilli Dalabehera, who hails from Makarprasad village in Dasapalla area of Nayagarh district, has 12 national and international medals in her kitty.  

Ramakanta Biswas
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Odisha’s golden girl Jhilli Dalabehera now eyes Olympics gloryPhotoPhoto: OTV

Weightlifter Jhilli Dalabehera

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Ace weightlifter Jhilli Dalabehera needs no introduction. With a plethora of national and international medals in her kitty, she is now a known face across the world. 

However, many people may not be aware of her incredible journey that began from a non-descript village in Odisha.  

In an exclusive interview with OTV, the girl from the tribal belt opened up about her journey from Makarprasad village which is surrounded by hills in Dasapalla area of Nayagarh district

“My journey to national and international events was not that easy. I had to go through a lot of hardship. Whenever I won a medal, I could not talk to my family and share my excitement due to lack of mobile network in our village,” Jhilli told OTV. 

“I have won 12 medals at the international events apart from many national medals. My coach P Dharma Rao sir has played a major role in my success,” Jhilli said.  

Jhilli said since her childhood, she nurtured the dream of doing something big and bringing laurels to the country. 

Speaking about her journey, she said, “While studying in high school, my teacher took me to Bhubaneswar where I undergone selection trials. Initially, my parents were reluctant to allow me to pursue weightlifting, but I remained firm on my decision and eventually able to fulfil my dream.”

“Now my parents are very happy for my success. I am very excited to visit my home after two years,” she added.

However, Jhilli is not among those who rest on their past laurels as she continues to strive hard for more success. 

“I have many more plans for the future. I want to practice hard and bring laurels to my country by taking part in the Olympics,” she said while urging girls of her locality not to give up dreams. 

“Parents are concerned about the safety of girl child and want their children do not step out of their house. I want to appeal to the budding athletes not to give up their dreams,” she said. 

P Dharma Rao, coach of Jhilli said, “Initially, she used to stay at Bhubaneswar Sports Hostel and practice for her sports. After securing several international medals, now she is staying at the Indian Coaching Camp. I often talk to her over phone and guide her if she has any issue.”

“Now she is toiling hard to get a chance to take part in the Olympics for which she needs the good wish and blessings of all,” he added.        

In 2019, she was conferred with the Eklavya Award for excellence in sports instituted by IMPaCT, the charitable wing of IMFA. This was in recognition of her achievements between the years 2017 and 2019 when she won two gold medals, three silver and one bronze (IWF World Championships) in various international weightlifting events.

Reported by Jayendra Behera, OTV