Bhubaneswar: In a first of its kind, the sport of Kayaking and Canoeing was included in the Khelo India Youth Games 2022, Madhya Pradesh and the state of Odisha made a strong showing in the competition. They secured their first gold medal of the tournament as Thangsabam Diamond Meitei, Tomthilnganba Ngashepam, Irom Borish Singh and Satyam Baliyan bagged the first place in Canoe Sprint K-4 Men’s 500m category. Furthermore, in the K1-1000m event, Ngashepam won the bronze medal while the K2M-1000m event saw Ngashepam and Irom Borish Singh win the silver medal. Avinash Shingam and Phairenbam Borish won the bronze medal in the C2M-1000m event.
In the women’s events, Pukhram Roji Devi won the gold medal in the K1-W-500m and was also part of the team that won the gold medal in the K4W-500m event along with Shruti Chougule, Leichonbam Sonia Devi, and Thongam Luxmi. Shruti Chougule and Thongam Luxmi won the silver medal in the K2-W-500m event. In the C2 W-500m event, Madhusmita Nayak and Leichonbam Neha Devi won the bronze medal., the state can be proud of their athletes’ achievements as their haul in Kayaking and Canoeing is second only to the host state of Madhya Pradesh.
The unit has been training relentlessly year around under the watchful eye of Laishram Johnson Singh, who previous over saw the squad to success at the National Games in October where Odisha brought home, a total of eight medals, comprising; one gold, four silvers and three bronze.
TN Sahoo, is Deputy Director at the Sports Authority of India’s National Centre of Excellence in Jagatpur, Odisha, and is also currently serving in the capacity of Manager, Kayaking and Canoeing praised the team and coach. He said, “We are fortunate to have one of the best coaches in India. However, we must also give credit to the whole team, it is difficult to acclimatise in a location as the stillness of water fluctuates across different locations. We are very particular about doing well in competitions and therefore we build our training calendar with that specific goal in mind.”
The Khelo India Youth Games is an important event for young athletes in the country, and Odisha’s success in the first ever competition of Kayaking and Canoeing demonstrates the potential for Odisha to continue to grow and succeed with the help of their robust sports ecosystem and inspire future generations of young athletes to follow in their footsteps. As the tournament continues, it will be exciting to see how Odisha’s athletes perform and what other achievements they may bring home.