A Boost For Odisha’s Young Weightlifters

Keeping up with the tag of ‘Sports Capital of India’, Odisha has tied up with several organisations and corporates to promote sports at the grassroots. New High-Performance Centres are being constructed across the state by the government to give the necessary push to the aspiring athletes.

Similarly, a new weightlifting High-Performance Centre is being set up, in association with Anil Kumble-promoted TENVIC. Located within the KIIT campus in Bhubaneswar, sponsored by KJS Ahluwalia Group, it currently has 12 girls and nine boys training under Iranian-British coach Kazem Punjavi.

Vineel Krishna, Odisha sports director, remarked about Odisha’s uprising performance in weightlifting and he believes that the state has good potential to create medal-winning international lifters. He mentioned about the scouting for the second set of trainees soon across multiple centres in the state.

“We take care of their accommodation, food, diet, and coaching. We also handle the procurement of stuff like weights, jerseys, etc. At the same time, we understand that only lifting weights all day can be stressful and tiring, both physically and mentally and try to ensure they have other interests to relax. TENVIC would also be taking care of their education and most of them would be admitted to schools and colleges by the end of June,” TENVIC’s scouting in charge, Soumya Mitra, explained their role in the development of the athletes.

The centre was inaugurated in February, and Punjavi already has his programme chalked out. Here on a three-year contract and previously with the British national team, Punjavi has prepared an individual training and diet chart for every lifter depending on his/her weight category, potential and weaknesses. The participating athletes are in their adolescence, the youngest are Tiki Mohini, 10 and Thulsi Sahu, 12.

The coach has high hopes from the trainees and is positive some of them would make the cut for the national side. But he expresses his sorrow in only one deficit – the number of participants. As the state increases its presence in weightlifting, we can hope for more number of participants to come forward in the future.

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