Odisha is a land which has given birth to quite a number of noteworthy & highly acknowledged personalities. And we have known many Odia people who have excelled & outshone in various fields. Besides others, in sports also, the people from Odisha have showcased their potential to the world. Of more recent times, two young women sprinters from Odisha named Srabani Nanda & Dutee Chand have been qualified for forthcoming Rio Olympics.
Now take a look at the other eminent sports personalities from Odisha who have participated in the Olympic Games.
1) Dilip Tirkey
A proud winner of the coveted Padma Shree, Arjuna Award & the Ekalavya Award, Dilip Tirkey is highly noted for his signature moves on the field & for being a source of inspiration to many. Born in Odisha’s Sundergarh district, Dilip has rightly attained the tag of being one of the best defenders of his time. Infact he is the only Adivasi to have represented India in Olympics thrice (1996 at Atlanta, 2000 at Sydney, 2004 at Athens) and has also led the Indian Men’s Hockey Team as the captain. Dilip is currently leading a new lease of life as a Rajya Sabha MP & the mentor of Odisha based Hockey India League team, ‘Kalinga Lancers.’
Pic Courtesy: sportslogon
2) Ignace Tirkey
Belonging to Sundergarh, this mid-fielder plays as a Fullback. Having captained the Indian team for some time, Ignace has proven his mettle many-a-times on the field. Moreover, Ignace has also participated in the 2004 Athens Olympics. That apart, he played a vital role in helping India win its first gold in Asian Hockey Cup tournaments. Mr. Tirkey is also a proud recipient of the Padma Shree, Arjuna Award & the Ekalavya Award.
Pic Courtesy: getty images
3) Rachita Panda Mistry
This Rourkela born sprinter is an outstanding personality who has succeeded in clinching the national record in both 100m and 200m. Rachita has even represented India in 4 x 100 metres relay together with P. T. Usha, E. B. Shyla, and Saraswati Saha at the 1998 Asian Championships in Athletics. Rachita is also a former National record holder in the 200m sprint which was held in Chennai, with a run of 23.10 seconds. In doing so, she broke the previous record of P. T. Usha. In 1998, Rachita was conferred the Arjuna Award for her contribution to the Indian athletics.
Pic Courtesy: Youtube
4) Katalu Ravi Kumar
Hailing from Berhampur, this Rajiv Khel Ratna Awardee has represented India in the 2012 London Olympics. Bridging a gap of about 12 years, Ravi Kumar had secured a berth in the men’s weightlifting category. Having performed excessively well in the Commonwealth Games, this lad has made Odisha soar into the elite class of sports history.
Pic Courtesy: odishasuntimes
5) Lazarus Barla
Yet another jewel from Savnamara, near Sundargarh district, Lazarus Barla is a field hockey defender who has represented India in the Summer Olympics held at Sydney in 2000. He made his International debut in 1997 in the Junior World Cup tournament. Since then he has played in almost 159 International matches. Besides, Lazarus has participated in the World Cup held at Kuala Lumpur and Utrech apart from being the captain of the Indian team in the Junior Asia Cup. Interestingly, he has played all the major International and national tournaments during his short career.
Pic Courtesy: ytimg
6) Anuradha Biswal
Aptly known as the Hurdle queen of India, Anuradha Biswal is one of the prominent sports figures and a legend in herself. Born in Odisha, she holds the current national record of 13.38 seconds for 100 m hurdles. Anuradha’s feat of representing her homeland in the Olympics, 2000 at Sydney has already let her hog the limelight. In her career span of more than 25 years, she has excelled in her sport by creating numerable records. As of now she already has 84 gold, 52 silver & 40 bronze medals in her kitty.
Pic Courtesy: america.pink
7) Birendra Lakra
An Asian & Commonwealth medal winner, Birendra was born in the Lachhada village which falls under the Sundergarh district. Birendra was the face of Indian Men’s Hockey at the Youth Olympics at Sydney in 2009. He also went to the London Olympics in 2012. This complete all-rounder has played more than 100 International matches for India. And much recently, Birendra has been signed with the “Ranchi Rays” franchise of the 2015 session of Hockey India League. Lakra has indeed brought much fame & several accolades to Odisha & the entire nation for his amazing field performances!
Pic Courtesy: s3.india
8) William Xalxo
This Odisha born talented hockey player was a part of the Indian Men’s Hockey Team comprising the 2004, Athens Olympics. He has been instrumental in supporting and backing up his team during all crucial times at big games and tournaments. With a good tactical understanding on the field and a motivating team spirit, William has often attained the tag of being a skillful player by his team-mates and coach alike!
Pic Courtesy: Getty images
Even after retiring from active sports life, the flame of love for their sport has kept burning. These players, besides making Odisha and the country proud have even inspired many aspiring young ones who wish to pursue their goals in being spectacular athletics like each of them!