'Will get medal if I throw my personal best': Kishore Jena takes inspiration from Worlds outing ahead of Asian Games
Kishore Jena had thrown his PB of 84.77m at the Worlds last month, but aims to better the mark at the Asiad.
India's performance at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou has been nothing short of spectacular, with medals pouring in at a remarkable pace. In just a single day on Tuesday, the Indian contingent added a staggering 15 medals to their tally, propelling them past the 70-medal mark. This achievement marks a historic high for India at the Asian Games, surpassing their previous record set in Jakarta in 2018.
The track and field athletes have been instrumental in India's impressive medal haul, contributing 23 – including four golds. The anticipation for Wednesday's events is palpable, with all eyes turning to the men's javelin competition, featuring the superstar athlete Neeraj Chopra and the promising Kishore Jena. While Neeraj is undeniably the frontrunner for a gold medal, Jena is not to be underestimated, and he's poised to make a strong case for a coveted podium finish. Jena's chances are further bolstered by the unfortunate absence of Arshad Nadeem, the Pakistani athlete who has shared a fierce rivalry with Neeraj Chopra in recent competitions but has been sidelined from the Hangzhou Games due to a knee injury.
And Jena will be high on confidence; a podium finish may have remained elusive for Jena during his maiden appearance at the World Championships last month, but he etched his name into the annals of history, securing a coveted spot in the final of the men's javelin throw event, sharing this distinction with his compatriots Neeraj Chopra and D. P. Manu. In a bid to seize glory at the Asian Games, Indian javelin thrower Kishore Jena has his sights set on victory as he prepares to compete in the highly anticipated final.
Kishore will present the Indian challenge in Hangzhou in the men's javelin throw final alongside Neeraj Chopra, who is the defending champion at the Games. With an air of determination, Jena told Hindustan Times in an exclusive interaction, “I'm very happy that I qualified for the World Championship final. Although I could've thrown better, I now intend to make up for the lost opportunity at the Asian Games.”
Jena had unleashed a spectacular throw covering a distance of 84.77 meters, marking a significant milestone with a remarkable personal best. Yet, his appetite for success remains insatiable as he sets his sights on shattering his own personal record at the upcoming Asian Games. Brimming with confidence, he firmly believes that achieving his personal best will undoubtedly secure a coveted medal.
"My target is to continue my process. I want to qualify for the Olympics, and if I throw my personal best (at the Asian Games), I will get the medal. So, that is my target," said Kishore on the sidelines of Asian Games jersey launch event.
In the tense days leading up to the World Championships in Budapest, Kishore Kumar Jena found himself in a sleepless turmoil, his dreams of participating in the prestigious event almost shattered. Just a mere three days before the competition, his visa application had been shockingly denied, plunging him into a state of restless uncertainty.
However, amid this trying ordeal, a ray of hope emerged in the form of his fellow athlete and friend, Neeraj Chopra. Neeraj's timely intervention, in the form of a crucial tweet, not only reignited Kishore's fading dreams but also expedited the entire process, culminating in Kishore's remarkable journey to the championship.
"I didn't sleep for 2-3 days. My visa application was rejected merely 3 days before the event, but I continued training," tells Kishore.
“Neeraj tweeted, and I didn't even talk to him about it before. Because of him, the process fastened, and I really want to thank him for that. Also,a special thanks to SAI and everyone who was involved.”
Kishore's remarkable journey in athletics has been deeply enriched by the camaraderie and mentorship that thrives within the Indian sports community. Speaking with admiration, he lauded the guidance and support he received from Neeraj. Even during the intense throes of competition, Neeraj's invaluable advice echoed in Kishore's ears, serving as a constant source of motivation.
“When we went together, he kept telling me what to do, even during the competition. He is a very polite person. He keeps in touch with me as well as the other javelin throwers. He's a great athlete, but an even greater human being,” tells the 28-year-old.
The mention of Neeraj Chopra invariably leads to the iconic 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medal, a triumph that has not only etched Neeraj's name in history but has also ignited the aspirations of many, including Kishore Kumar Jena. Like countless others, Jena found himself deeply inspired and profoundly motivated by Neeraj's monumental achievement on the grandest stage of all.
“When he won the Olympic gold, that was our inspiration. And it is just the beginning; there's a lot more to come. The kids who are coming right now have the potential to be world-class. You will see, bohot maza aane waala hai (It's going to be a lot of fun).”