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National Sports Day: Remembering Odisha’s sporting icons

KalingaTV News Network

BY Tazeen Qureshy

National Sports Day: Remembering Odisha’s sporting iconsBhubaneswar: As the nation celebrates the National Sports Day on the birth anniversary of hockey wizard Dhyan Chand, here is a list of sporting icons from the State who have made it big on the international platform-

Dilip Tirkey – One of the world’s best defenders and a former India hockey captain, Odisha sports will be incomplete without mentioning his name. Born in Saunamara in Sundargarh district of Odisha, his struggle to become the world’s best defender not only brought Odisha into limelight at the global platform, but also inspired the tribal community to take to sport. Dilip has played three Olympics and has 412 matches to his credit. He has been conferred with the Padmashree and Arjuna Award. He is currently serving as a Member of Rajya Sabha from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

Ignace Tirkey – Another hockey player, Padmashree Ignace Tirkey’s skills in defence had made him a regular face in the India team. His goal in the dying minutes of the Asia Cup in 2003 helped India clinch the title from Pakistan. He was conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2009.

Anuradha Biswal – Athlete Anuradha Biswal leads the women sporting icons in the State. She is still the national record holder in the 100 metres hurdles category. One of the highlights of her career is a gold medal at the 2006 SAF Games.

Debashish Mohanty – The most popular name among cricket fans in the State, Debashish Mohanty was the first to represent Odisha team. A fast bowler, he played 45 ODIs and two Test matches in his cricket career. He has also coached the State Ranji Team for six years since 2011 before laying down office recently. .

Sradhanjali Samantaray – An ace footballer, who went on to captain the India women’s team.

Shiv Sundar Das– Touted as the best batsman from the State, SS Das has represented India in 23 Test matches, besides being Mr Dependable for the State cricket team. He was appointed the coach of Odisha team last month.

Katalu Ravi Kumar – The 2010 Commonwealth Games gold medalist (69 kg category) in weightlifting, Ravi Kumar shot into fame within no time. A bodybuilder, he took up weightlifting on his trainer’s advice. He also won silver in the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Sprinters – The young bunch of sprinters – Dutee Chand, Srabani Nanda, Jauna Murmu and Amiya Malllick – are currently reigning the track and field in their respective events. Their recent performances at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar and other events has cemented their position as leading athletes in India.

Mohammad Jaffar Iqbal – A star in his own right, disability has not deterred his vision to play cricket. Member of the Indian Blind cricket team, he has won the World Cup in T20 (2012) and ODI (2014).