Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], June 5 (ANI): The 63rd All Odisha State Swimming Championship kicked off on Sunday at the Biju Patnaik Swimming Pool, located at the Kalinga Sports Complex in Bhubaneswar. Over 300 swimmers across Odisha are competing in the Senior, Junior and Sub-Junior categories over the course of four days, as per a press release from Sports Odisha.
The competition, organized by the Sports and Youth Services Department, Odisha State Swimming Association and Odisha JSW Swimming High-Performance Centre, also serves as a golden opportunity for aspiring swimmers to establish themselves as contenders to represent Odisha in the Senior National Championship, scheduled for July.
Before the competition commenced, two minutes of silence were observed in the memory of the victims of the Balasore train tragedy. Ranjit Parida, Joint Secretary, Department of Sports and Youth Services was the Chief Guest of the evening. While Pradip Kumar Padhee, President of the State Swimming Association and General Secretary Golapmani Mahanta were also in attendance.
The exceptional success achieved by the trainees from the High-Performance Centre at the Thailand Age Swimming Competition earlier this year, stands as a testament to the remarkable progress made by the state. Furthermore, the State Swimming Championship has 95 participants in the Girls' categories this year. Amongst the female competitors at the tournament will be the stars of the Thailand Age Swimming Competition; Shristi Upadhyay who clinched the bronze in the 50m and 100m Butterfly category and Pratyasha Roy who won the silver in 50m Freestyle. Both girls also put in phenomenal performances at the Khelo India University Games (KIUG) recently.
Speaking on the importance of the State Swimming Championship, Pratyasha Roy said, "The state swimming competition is important for us. It is crucial that we clock the qualification times for the upcoming Senior Nationals. All our preparation in the past few months has been geared towards that, so I am hoping to beat my previous timings in this competition."Echoing her peer's sentiments, Shristi Upadhyay said, "I am hoping for the best at the competition, winning three golds, two silvers and two bronze medals at Khelo India was a great achievement for me. Hopefully, I can replicate that performance."Sandeep Sejwal, who leads the High Performance Centre in Odisha also spoke on the significance of the ongoing competition.
"The swimmers from the HPC have been exposed to world-class facilities, training in an Olympic sized is very important. The competition will serve as a gauge where they can execute what they have learned, and we can see how they fare in the competition. It will also serve as an exercise in talent identification as well." he said.
It is noteworthy to mention that the High-Performance Centers go beyond the skill development of athletes, Sejwal went on to highlight how the HPC programs can contribute towards the personal development of their cadets.
"When we took the team to Thailand, we had a team where most of the members had never stepped out of Odisha. It was great exposure for them to compete in an international competition and visit a foreign country. It will not only build their confidence but also help in their personal development as well," concluded Sejwal. (ANI)