Paris Olympics: India can win more than one medal in javelin, Kishore Jena says

Asian Games silver medallist says Neeraj bhai doesn’t hold back when it comes to giving tips

Kishore Jena (right) with Anurag Thakur, Union Minister of Sports & Youth Affairs, at the launch of Khelo India talent research programme on 12 March. (photo: SAI)
Kishore Jena (right) with Anurag Thakur, Union Minister of Sports & Youth Affairs, at the launch of Khelo India talent research programme on 12 March. (photo: SAI)

NH Sports Bureau

Remember Kishore Jena, the man who gave a mighty scare to Neeraj Chopra in the javelin final at Hangzhou Asian Games? It was for the first time that Chopra and Jena made it a 1-2 for India in javelin at the Asian Games and the 28-year-old says their medal prospects in Paris Olympics is not limited to the Tokyo hero only.

“As per rule, three players can compete from one country in javelin throw -. it increases the probability of winning more medals in Paris. We are all training hard for the Summer Games and if we can stay consistent and injury-free, India can do better than Tokyo,” Kishore Jena told SAI media on the sidelines of the KIRTI (Khelo India Rising Talent Identification programme) launch in Chandigarh on Tuesday, 12 March.

Jena, who will return to outdoor competition for the first time in 2024 at the Doha leg of the Diamond League season in May, said: “My season has started on a good note as compared to last year. I believe 2024 will be a great season for me. Practice is going well and I am getting support from every quarter be it Sports Authority of India (SAI), TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) or Athletics Federation of India (AFI). I am sure my performance will be better as I will give it my 100 per cent, rest is on the Almighty and what happens on that particular day,” said Jena.

Jena and DP Manu first shot into limelight when they went toe-to-toe with Chopra at the World Athletics in Budapest last year where the Indian trio made the final and finished in top six.

Jena, who comes from a farming family in Odisha’s Puri district, went for an exposure trip to Gold Coast in Australia last month where he was accompanied by long-time coach Samarjeet Singh Malhi. He did different kinds of weight training to improve his core and shoulder strength.

Asked if he is hoping to breach the 90 metres mark in Doha, Jena said: “I haven’t thought of it (90 metres) till now. My aim is to keep improving my results and overcome my weaknesses. I keep taking suggestions from Neeraj bhai. I don’t see him as my competitor. Whenever I encounter some problem I take his advice as he is one of the nicest human beings I have ever come across. He doesn’t hold back when it comes to offering the right tips.”

During the last Asian Games, there was a minor scare for Chopra as his first ‘good’ throw was not considered by officials. Jena then posted his personal best of 87.54m to push Chopra to give his all but then the Olympic and world champion came up with a monster throw of 88.88m to defend his gold medal. Jena settled for silver and more importantly, met the qualifying mark for Paris 2024.

“At that point, I was happy that I had qualified for Paris 2024. I went up to him (Chopra) and even told him that I have qualified. He boosted my confidence saying I can post a bigger throw. Like everyone, my aim is to win a medal but that is not entirely under my control and I will go for my personal best at my maiden Olympics,” Jena signed off.

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Published: 15 Mar 2024, 2:04 PM