6 SportsWomen From Odisha Who Are All Set To Make It Big In The Rio Olympics!
Women from Odisha are now making waves globally in different arenas. Be it acting, dance, singing or any other creative careers, these talented women are emerging successful with each passing day. Even in the arena of sports, these ladies have been hogging the limelight with their challenging exhibits. The kind of sporting activities which was once just dominated by the men-folk are currently being witnessed with women attaining equal or sometimes more glory as well. From Minati Mohapatra to Dutee Chand, Odisha has been proudly tasting their victory.
However, so far in the history of Olympics, only two women from Odisha, namely Rachita Panda Mistry & Anuradha Biswal got an opportunity to represent the country. But the upcoming Rio Olympics is very special for every other Odia, because for the first time, six women athletes from Odisha will display their talent in the big games. After a hiatus of 16 years, following are the ones from this state who are set to play in the Olympics.
1) Dutee Chand
A national champion in 100m event in sprinting, the 20-year-old Dutee hails from a hamlet in Jajpur district of Odisha. She once wooed all by qualifying for the women’s 100m at the Olympics, but thereafter Dutee missed the Olympic mark by one hundredth of a second at the Athletics Grand Prix in Delhi. After many other lacklustre performances at qualifying events, the moment was utterly celebratory when Dutee sealed the deal in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Even off the track, Chand is a pioneer. Her historic victory over IAAF’s discriminatory hyperandrogenism clause is touted as one of the biggest developments in athletics history. A performer in many national & International events, Dutee is infact the first Indian to reach the final of a Global Athletics 100m race!
2) Srabani Nanda
Just a day after Dutee Chand had booked a historic 100-metre berth, the 26-year-old Srabani Nanda had even made the cut for Rio Olympics in the 200-metre category. This sprinter belongs to Odisha’s Kandhamal district and she is a champion athlete, despite all odds. Her dedication and discipline is absolutely commendable. A sprint runner specialized in 4x100m relay, 100 metre & 200 metre sprint events, Srabani is also a 2016 South Asian Games gold medalist. Both Dutee & Srabani happen to share a healthy rivalry by claiming neck-and neck positions at various events. As admitted by Srabani, having a competitor like Dutee has truly helped her up her game.
3) Namita Tappo
Her selection to the Junior National team for World Cup along with 3 other Odia players, Anupa Barla, Lilima Minz & Deep Grace Ekka made Namita to hog the limelight. Until now, she has played 92 International matches for India including some major tournaments like Asian Games, Commonwealth Games and World League. Moreover she was a part of the Indian team which won bronze medal in 2014 Asian Games and Silver Medal in Commonwealth Games. In 2014, Namita was awarded the upcoming player of the year award (Women-Under 21) by Hockey India for her outstanding performance.
4) Lilima Minz
She happens to be one of the most promising players that Odisha has ever produced. From taking a control of mid-field to strategising attacks with other forward players, Lilima masters it all. She was even a part of the Indian Women’s Hockey Team that made history by winning the bronze medal for the first time in women’s junior Hockey World Cup in July 2013. So far, Minz has represented India in 72 International matches including some major tournaments like Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World Hockey League and Hawks Bay Cup.
5) Sunita Lakra
Twenty five-year-old Sunita Lakra belonging to Rourkela, Odisha is considered to be the backbone of Indian women’s Hockey team defence and has in her kitty an astounding success of 71 International caps. Some of her big achievements were when she represented India’s at the 2014 Asian Games in Incheon where team India bagged the bronze medal. A year after this, she helped her team in attaining the top position in the women’s Hockey League Round 2. However, Sunita’s breakthrough moment was in August 2015 when the Indian women’s hockey squad qualified for Rio Olympics after a hiatus of 36 years.
6) Deep Grace Ekka
She is a star performer of the Indian women’s hockey team. and has represented the country in 101 International matches. Hailing from Sundergarh district of Odisha, Ekka has played a pivotal role in making her team win silver at the Women’s Asian Champions Trophy, 2013 and bronze at the women’s Hockey Asia Cup in the same year. Infact, she was also a member of the squad for the 17th Asian Games at Incheon where Indian secured the bronze medal by beating Japan.