Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Odisha got off to an impressive start in the ongoing 21st National Para Athletics Championship in Pune on Saturday.

Parathletes of the state performed splendidly to win three medals in the national level event. While Pankaj Bhue clinched gold medal, Mangat Hembram bagged bronze medal in T-13 category of men’s long jump.

Pankaj jumped up to 5.60m and Mangat covered the distance of 5.33m to finish first and third respectively. Mangat lost the silver medal by a whisker to his opponent from Andhra Pradesh.

“I am delighted to win a gold medal after four years. We were not getting enough scope to practice. But now Odisha Para Athletics association and Sports Department are jointly providing us facilities where we can practice regularly. It is getting translated into our performances gradually. I am thankful to them,” said Pankaj.

“Odisha parathletes have made good preparations for the National Para Athletics Championship and we are confident of putting up a great show in the competition,” he added.

Meanwhile, Arjuna Bhatra from Odisha also won a bronze medal in the T20 category of men’s race.

As many as 19 participants from Odisha are taking part in the mega event.