Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar: Five member team of India's elite Javelin throwers are currently practicing at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar as a part of their preparations for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, scheduled to be held on 23 July 2021.

While the preparations are in full swing at the stadium, star athlete, Shivpal Singh has asserted that looking at the facilities Odisha government is providing them to train, in all likelihood, an Olympic medal can very well fall in their kitty.

Catching up with Shivpal Singh from Varanasi who qualified for Olympics 2021 by throwing 85.47m at Potchefstroom, South Africa and Annu Rani, the first Indian woman to surpass the 60m mark in javelin throw, OTV Sports Correspondent Niranjan Reddy asked them some interesting questions which were answered quite gleefully by both the athletes.

"2020 went quite well for me. In fact I qualified for the Olympics this year. However, I could have done exceptionally well in the competitions had those went down as per the schedule, but COVID played spoil sport and I was left inside home," said Singh.

Thanking Odisha government for providing all the support they needed for training, Singh said, "We came down to Bhubaneswar owing to bone chilling cold in Patiala where we had been practicing earlier. I had never thought that we will get such support here. I am really grateful for Odisha Government."

Though Annu Rani, has not qualified for the biggest sporting spectacle which has been rescheduled after cancellation in 2020 in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic, she is quite upbeat on achieving medals sooner than later.

"I had prepared quite well for the events scheduled this year. And I could have qualified for Olympics but unfortunately, I did not get any. Anyways, my focus now is at the qualification,"

Speaking about the postponement of the event to 2021, Singh said, "I do not have any qualms about the reschedule of Olympics from 2020 to 2021. Whatever change happened, it is meant for all the athletes, not only me. However, I was in a very good shape this year. And I hope, I will continue to bring glory to my motherland.

When asked about the performance of all the five team members and the prospects of winning medals, Singh said, "Everybody including Neeraj Chopra has done exceptionally well in 2020. Anyone can bring medal to India."

"It feels quite good when you break your own National record many times. I compete with myself to perform better than last time" said Rani.

Notably, earlier this year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), the Tokyo 2020 organising committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan had agreed new dates for the games of the xxxii Olympiad, in 2021.

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021. The organisers also agreed on new dates for the paralympic games, which will be organised from 24 August until 5 September 2021, in the wake of Coronavirus pandemic.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)