India’s latest athlete Bapi Hansda clinched an impressive silver medal in the 400m hurdles at the ongoing 5th Youth Asian Athletics Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Sunday. He clocked 51.38 seconds, his personal best to finish ahead of Sri Lanka’s Kuda Liyanage Ayomal who timed 51.40 to bag bronze while Qatar’s Mahamat Abakar Abdrahman won the gold with a time of 50.91 secs.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said, “I congratulate Bapi on his achievement at the Asian level. He is an inspiring example for other athletes. In spite of a lot of challenges in his personal life, Bapi has been able to achieve this feat. I wish Bapi, the coaches and the entire team of the Odisha Reliance Foundation HPC the very best. I am happy that our investment in the sports ecosystem has started showing results.”
Bapi, a native of Basta in Balasore – a coastal district in the northernmost part of Odisha, is currently part of the Odisha Reliance Foundation Athletics High-Performance Center and has been making remarkable strides in the 400m hurdles. Bapi recently won gold at the 18th National Youth Championship clocking 51.90 secs. With this timing, Bapi ranked World No 1 in the under-18 years age category and also qualified for Asian Youth Athletics Championship.
Chief Minister Patnaik had recently felicitated Bapi Hansda with a cash award of Rs 25 Lakhs for his feat at the Nationals.
Speaking about Bapi’s race in Tashkent, an elated Head Coach of the Odisha Reliance HPC Martin Owens said, “Bapi ran a brave race. He was a bit nervous before the race because he had finished third yesterday in the heats due to which he was assigned lane 8. I call it a gutsy effort by him today because he was almost running blind in lane 8, he was a little behind midway but made a brilliant finish.Considering this is only his 5th attempt in the 400m hurdles, it is a fantastic achievement and the lad has clocked his personal best.”
The Head Coach is optimistic about Bapi’s prospects in the upcoming events too. He will next be vying for honors in the Commonwealth Championships in August. “We will be looking at taking him for the Commonwealth Championships in August and then prepare for the Junior World Championships next year. This kid has a lot of potential,” added Martin.
The Odisha Reliance Foundation Athletics High-Performance Center is a collaborative effort between the Odisha Government and Reliance Foundation with the aim to ensure that India and Odisha’s athletic talent has access to the best infrastructure, coaching team, equipment, sports medicine and rehabilitative support that is needed to deliver at the highest levels of performance. Since 2019, the Odisha Reliance Foundation HPC has trained over 50 athletes across various athletics disciplines and won many medals at the national and international level.
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