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Reliance HPC Athletes Calling Shots

Bhubaneswar: Having registered as many as 100 Personal Bests (PBs) at the Sprint and Middle distance Fest over four competitions in October and November, athletes from the Reliance Foundation Odisha Athletics High Performance Centre (HPC) in Bhubaneswar return to training later this month eager to build on that momentum.

 Based on data from the previous training year and in-depth screening, Head coach James Hillier and his team have plans in place to build further on the individualised training programmes in place for the athletes, tailored to the specific needs of each individual. The intention is to ensure they are meticulously prepared to perform at their best at the most important competitions scheduled over the course of the next year.

“Athletics is all about competitions therefore when the athletes are training, they must always have half an eye on the competition that they are preparing for,” explains Hillier. “The training goes from more general at the start of the year to more specific as the athletes get closer to competitions.”

 Athletes from the HPC, a collaborative effort of the Odisha Government and the Reliance Foundation, have already started to make heads turn. Sprinter Amlan Borgohain clocked a PB of 21.20 seconds in the 200m at the Sprint and Middle distance Fest, making him the fastest in the country for the year. Local girl Sabita Toppo, still only 15 years old, achieved four PBs in six races and has now improved her timing by more than two seconds in her favoured 100m hurdles event since coming on board at the HPC, clocking 14.54 seconds.

“The early results achieved by the HPC athletes are an indicator of the steady progress made as well as a sign of positive things to come,” says Vishal K Dev, Secretary, Sports & Youth Services, Odisha. “The entire Reliance Foundation Odisha Athletics HPC team has put in commendable efforts over the last year or so, including the lockdown period, on all fronts to help the athletes achieve personal bests.”

With the schedule severely impacted in 2020 due to Covid-19, the coaching staff at the HPC are hopeful athletes will have more competitions to participate in over the coming year. With that objective in mind, the periodised plan will enable their conditioning in a manner that will allow them to handle higher intensities and progressive overload required in each subsequent training phase of the year without getting injured.  

Although it has only been a little over a year since formal training began at the HPC, the innovative approach adopted by Hillier and his team has already shown encouraging signs, pointing to a bright future for athletes from the facility.

“Looking ahead, we hope to build on the strong foundation laid by the HPC in the first year and make significant strides towards the development of the athletes,” says Mr.Dev. “The main objective of setting up this HPC is to create an institution that will produce the best athletes in the country. We hope that the athletes continue on this path of holistic progress.”

“We hope domestic competitions resume in the coming year,” he adds. “We are hopeful that the work put in by the athletes in this year will translate to medal-winning performances at AFI competitions, said he.