BHUBANESWAR: Kishore Kumar Jena joined Bhubaneswar Sports Hostel as a volleyball player in 2016. However, the then athletics coach Nilamadav Deo convinced him to switch to javelin throw.
The decision paid rich dividends as the 26-year-old from Puri won the men's final in the 3rd National Open Javelin Throw Championships at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday. "Under the guidance of Deo sir I became a javelin thrower. I am thankful to him for helping me choose the event," he said on the switch five years ago.
The 26-year-old won his maiden national title with a 74.26m effort on his second attempt while Harish Kumar (Rajasthan) and seasoned Vipin Kasana (Delhi) took silver and bronze with their fifth and sixth throws respectively.
Representing Cuttack, Kishore broke his own record in the recently concluded Odisha Senior Inter-Districts Athletics Championships at Kalinga Stadium with a throw of 76.41m. His previous record of 72.77m was set in 2017 in Cuttack.
"I am extremely happy that I made my state proud and also won my first national event. My next target is to touch the 80m mark. After creating the state athletics meet record in the year 2017, I joined the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) in Bhopal. I have been continuously training there ever since," said Kishore.
With the national title in his kitty, Kishore hopes for better training facilities so that he can improve his performance. "In my life I never got a chance to practice with an imported javelin. Hope now I will get a range of javelins for practice so that I can do better in future."
Like many budding javelin throwers of the country, he also idolises Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Neeraj Chopra. "He not only motivated me to do better but also inspired many young athletes of our country," he said.