Bhubaneawar, March 23: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday felicitated Odisha’s track and field athlete Bapi Hansda with a cash award of Rs 25 lakh for winning gold in the 400m hurdles at the recently concluded 18th National Youth Athletics Championship with a time of 51.90 sec. With this timing, Bapi is now ranked World No 1 in under 18 years age category.
This achievement qualified Bapi for Asian Youth Athletics Championship, which is scheduled in Uzbekistan later this year in April.
The 17-year-old was elated to meet the Chief Minister and thanked him for the support and the felicitation.
Bapi who hails from Balasore is the youngest of five siblings and had lost his father in 2008. After lot of personal struggles, he found his passion for athletics and was spotted by the HPC for his talent and inducted into the Kalinga Stadium in 2019.
Within a short period, he displayed exceptional talent and work ethics which impressed the coaches. Since then he is a part of the Endurance training program at the athletic High Performance Centre and he also got the opportunity to train with some of India’s top International athletes at Ooty, earlier.
Bapi will continue his training at the HPC under Head Coach Martin Owens and is a good example of how the sports ecosystem created by the Odisha RF Athletics HPC can benefit athletes to unleash their potential.