Malkangiri: Though always making headlines for the wrong reasons, there’s much more to Malkangiri than just Maoist menace. Beyond the poor roads and lack of civic and health infrastructure among the tribal dwellings in the lap of Mother Nature who has spread her bounty everywhere in the district, there are plenty of sporting talents here who have made it to numerous National events without even basic facilities.
Groomed at the Malkangiri Sports nursery, between 2012 to 2016 as many as 263 girls and boys have represented Odisha in various National events. Apart from volleyball prodigy Sirisa Karami who made national headlines for being selected in Indian U-18 team and was even praised by Sachin Tendulkar, young talents in archery and various other sports have made it to major championships without even full time coaches or infrastructure for training. In 2014, archers from this centre won gold in the national school championships while they won silver and bronze in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Five players of the district’s men’s volleyball team are part of the State team too.
“Young talents groomed here have done well in various sports, specially volleyball, archery and weightlifting,” said Gyanendra Prasad Badhei, district sports officer, Malkangiri.
A new sports hostel has come up here where 52 boys reside and train but there is no residential facilities for girls yet. Even, the star volleyball player Sirisa, who was even felicitated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and was promised support for training, is yet to get any such special support from the State government.