Reliance Foundation athletes dazzle at National Games 2023 with 30 medals

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Bhubaneswar: Reliance Foundation athletes made a big splash at the National Games, Goa 2023, winning a total of 30 medals in seven different sports. The final medal tally comprised 15 Gold, 8 Silver and 7 Bronze medals in a splendid and medal-laden display from start to finish. Over 40 athletes from Reliance Foundation took part in seven sports at the prestigious competition.

Speaking about the fine display, James Hillier, Athletics Director at Reliance Foundation, said, “We are really pleased with the results at the National Games. For many of our athletes, it was the last competition of the year in a very long season. They started in April, so to sustain that level of excellence for seven months is a very impressive feat.

“It was pleasing to not just see the medals but our athletes also registered their personal bests. It has been a good end to a very successful season for us. It gives us the perfect springboard for next season. The next year is a big year with the Olympics, we are excited and looking forward to it. We’ll be looking to get our best athletes into the Paris Olympics squad.”

Jyothi’s hat-trick; Tejas shatters meet record

India’s ace hurdler Jyothi Yarraji finished her season in style with a hat-trick of medals at the National Games. The icing on the cake was the fact that Jyothi rewrote the meet record in the women’s 100m hurdles event, winning Gold by clocking a time of 13.22s. Jyothi also won Gold in the 4x100m relay event with Andhra Pradesh. Her third medal came in the 200m event, where she won bronze with a time of 23.95s in the final.

Tejas Shirse lived up to his billing of pre-tournament favourite by clinching Gold in style in the men’s 110m hurdles event. In a dominant display, Tejas rewrote the meet record in the event by crossing the finish line in 13.71s.

Asian Games medalist Gulveer Singh won Gold in the 5000m event in a time of 14:13.03s. Gulveer backed up his Gold with a bronze in the men’s 10000m event to complete a long distance double. Sprinter Elakkkiyadasan won a brace of medals, winning Gold in both the men’s 100m and men’s 4x100m relay.

Javelin thrower Kishore Kumar Jena, who has already sealed a spot at the Paris Olympics next year, won bronze with a best throw of 78.47m. Pole vaulter Baranica Elangovan also finished her season on a high with a Gold by clearing a height of 3.90m.

The other individual medalists from Reliance Foundation in athletics were Swadhin Majhi (bronze, men’s high jump), Graceson Jeeva (silver, men’s 110m hurdles), Moumita Mondal (bronze, women’s long jump), Dhanvir Singh (silver, men’s shot put) and Animesh Kujur (bronze, men’s 200m).

Anupama Upadhyaya and Palak Gulia continue rapid rise; Reetika arrives in style

Anupama Upadhyaya delivered the first Gold even before the opening ceremony by winning the women’s singles event. The 18-year old is now the reigning National Champion as well as National Games Champion.

Fresh off scripting history at the Asian Games, Palak Gulia struck double Gold, winning the yellow metal in the women’s 10m air pistol and mixed 10m air pistol events.

Niraj Kumar and Nancy added to the medal haul in shooting by winning silver in the men’s 50m rifle 3 positions and women’s 10m air rifle events respectively.

There were three medals in archery as well with Mrinal Chauhan winning Gold in the men’s team event and silver in the mixed team event in the recurve category. Ridhi also won a Gold in the women’s team event in the recurve category.

Ridhi was delighted with her efforts. “It was a proud moment for me to compete in my first National Games. It was my childhood dream to win a medal in the National Games. It gives me a lot of confidence for upcoming tournaments. It’s one of the biggest medals of my career and a much-needed confidence boost. As my experience is increasing, so are my targets. When I was young, I would get a chocolate for hitting a ten. My ultimate goal is to win a Gold for India at the Olympics,” she said.

One of the biggest moments of the Games featured Reetika Hooda. The young wrestler from Haryana, fresh from her world Under 23 Championship victory, the first ever for India, defeated Olympian Divya Kakran 10-0 in the finals to clinch the National Games Gold in a breathtaking display.

The gold rush continued with boxer Ankushita Boro and judoka Himanshi Tokas also finishing on top of the podium.

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