BHUBANESWAR: Indian women’s hockey team defender Deep Grace Ekka and para-athlete Jayanti Behera received the Biju Patnaik sports award for outstanding performance from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through video conference on Saturday on the occasion of the National Sports Day.
Both of them received a citation along with cash award of Rs 2 lakh each.
Similarly, Biju Patnaik Bravery Award was presented to two girls from Kendrapara, Purnima Giri and Sabita Giri, who received cash award of Rs 1 lakh each, medal and citation. Biju Patnaik Sports Award for excellence in coaching went to chess coach Satya Ranjan Patnaik. He received cash award of Rs 1 lakh.
Besides, Siba Prasad Das received a cash award of Rs 32,50,000 for coaching to sports persons with disability. Among others, Padmini Rout, Hupi Majhi, Rajashree Mohapatra, Manisha Merel, Pratyasha Ray also received cash awards.
Congratulating the award winners, the Chief Minister spoke about the initiatives of the state for making Odisha a global centre of sports. “Today we are celebrating National Sports Day on the birth anniversary of Indian Hockey legend Dhyan Chand. I pay my sincere tributes to the wizard of Indian hockey on this occasion,” he said.
The Chief Minister also congratulated the two young girls of Kendrapara who received the Bravery Award for showing exceptional courage and saving many lives. “They are indeed a shining example of selfless service and an inspiration for the youth,” he said.
Stating that Odisha has become a major centre of sports activities in the last few years, the Chief Minister said today the state is known globally as a hub of hockey and going to host yet another edition of Hockey World Cup in 2023.
He said the focus of the government is on development of sports infrastructure and coaching facilities at grassroots level.
“Best of the coaches from across the World have been engaged in our high performance centres in various sports disciplines to provide top class coaching,” he said and added, “I am sure, our sportspersons will continue to excel in national and international sports and bring glory to the State in the coming years.”
Sports and Youth Services Minister Tusharkanti Behera, former Indian hockey captain and MP Dillip Tirkey, secretary in the Sports department Vishal Dev and Director of sports R Vineel Krishna also spoke. Chief Secretary Asit Tripathy, Development Commissioner Suresh Mahapatra and 5T secretary VK Pandian were present among others.