Odisha has always produced some of the best sporting personalities and so it did in 2017. But what left an indelible impression on the sporting year for the state was the Asian Athletics Championships in July. Right from the word go, the event remained the cynosure of all eyes and it did exceed expectations on all parameters. But there were many other happenings in the sporting arena and the year would seem incomplete without a look at these sports and sportspersons who held fort for the state in 2017.
- India vs England at Barabati
Barabati Stadium hosted the second game of the ODI series between India and England on January 19. The game went down to the wire but finally the Indians held their nerves to win it by 15 runs. Experienced cricketers Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh both scored hundreds to help India recover from early damage and entertained the ever excited Barabati crowd.
- Rising students girls finish second in IWL season 1
Rising Students became runners up in first ever Indian Women’s League football tournament as they were defeated by Eastern Sporting Union from Manipur. The Manipur side thrashed the Rising Students from Cuttack by 3-0 in the final played in New Delhi.
- Kalinga Lancers’ first HIL title
Kalinga Lancers became Hockey India League (HIL) champions for the very first time this year as they thrashed Dabang Mumbai 4-1 in the final played in Chandigarh on February 26. The home matches of the Lancers were played in Bhubaneswar and four players from the state Amit Rohidas, Dipsan Tirkey, Anand Lakra and Nilam Sanjeep Xess represented the Bhubaneswar-based franchise in the competition.
- Odia cricketers performed as India won T20 World Cup for the blind
Odia visually-impaired all-rounder Md Jafar Iqbal and wicketkeeper-batsman Sukhram Majhi played for the Indian blind cricket team that defeated Pakistan in the final to win T20 cricket world cup for the blind held in India. State capital Bhubaneswar also hosted one of the games as the league match between India and New Zealand was played at KIIT Cricket Stadium on February 7 which was comfortably won by the home team. Jafar showed his bowling skills by pocketing two wickets while Sukhram Majhi scored an unbeaten 50.
- Cuttack hosted Federation Cup Football
Cuttack hosted the premier club football tournament of India, Federation Cup in May. Bengaluru FC emerged victorious in the tournament by defeating Kolkata-based Mohun Bagan Club 2-0 in the final. Eight top club teams of the country participated in the tournament which was played at the Barabati Stadium from May 7 to May 21. Odia boy Pankaj Sona got a chance to play in this prestigious tournament for Goa-based club Churchill Brothers.
- Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar
The Capital city geared up for a spectacular and colourful 22nd Asian Athletics Championships in July. More than 600 athletes from 43 countries took part in the championships held in the Temple City. A challenge for itself, the state government got the stadium ready in only 90 days. A glittering opening ceremony marked the inauguration of the four-day long sporting extravaganza. Local girls Dutee Chand, Srabani Nanda and Purnima Hembram clinched bronze medals for India. Dutee first bagged a bronze in 100m individual run and then both Dutee and Srabani were a part of the four-women Indian women relay team that won Bronze medal. Purnima finished third in the women’s heptathlon event on the final day. India emerged overall winners with a total of 29 medals including 12 gold.
- Odia girls made the state proud in weightlifting
Odia girls Jhili Dalabehera and Sneha Soren won Gold medals in the 48kg category of the junior and youth group respectively in the Commonwealth and Oceania weightlifting championships held in Australia. In the senior group Saraswati Rout brought laurels for the state by bagging Bronze in the 82 kg category.
- Purnima Hembram’s Gold in Pentathlon
Purnima Hembram got gold in 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts games in Turkmenistan. Purnima won the women pentathlon event with a total of 4062 points. She clinched Gold because of her all-round show in 60m hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put and 800m race.
- Dronacharya Award for Odia boxing coach
Boxing coach from Odisha Braja Bhushan Mohanty received the prestigious Dronacharya Award on National Sports Day. He was conferred with this award because of some international boxers like Shiva Thapa, Vikash Yadav, Gurcharan Singh who excelled under Mohanty’s guidance.
- Hockey players brought laurels for the country
Odia defenders Dipsan Tirkey and Amit Rohidas were a part of the Indian team that won Asia Cup hockey held in Dhaka. India defeated Malaysia by 2-1 goals in the final. Prior to this both Amit and Dipsan found place in the senior national team for the first time in the European Tour. Similarly, four Odia girls were a part of the Indian Hockey Team that won women’s Asia Cup held in Japan by beating China in the final in sudden death. Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Sunita Lakra and Lilima Minz again made the entire state proud with their consistent performance for the national team.
- Aparajita Gochhikar and Padmini Rout starred in Chess
In last couple months of the year, Odia chess masters Aparajita Gochhikar bagged Gold medal in Asian Amateur Chess Championship in Thailand while Padmini Rout won her fourth title in a row in 44th National Women Premier Chess Championship.
- Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar
Birendra Lakra, Amit Rohidas and Dipsan Tirkey were a part of the Men’s Hockey World League Final which was played at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar from December 1 to 10. India finished third by defeating Germany in the third position play-off game by 2-1 goals. Australia was crowned the winner of the tournament as they defeated Argentina 2-1 in the final game. Bhubaneswar crowd attracted the attention of the hockey world as they turned out to support hockey despite cyclonic conditions in last few days of the championship.
- Para athlete Jayanti Behera
Odia para athlete Jayanti Behera bagged Gold medals for India in World Junior Para Athletic Championships and Asian Youth Para Games this year. In the world championships she clinched Gold and Silver medals in 400m and 200m race while at the Asian event, she won Gold medals in both 200m and 400m events in T-47 Under 20 category.
- First ever Tribal Games
Odisha became the first state in the country to conceptualise “Sports for Tribals”. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched Tribal Sports Meet-2017 on December 18.
- India vs Sri Lanka T20I in Cuttack
The first T20I game of the series between India and Sri Lanka was played at Barabati Stadium, Cuttack with India registering a huge 93-run victory against the team from the island nation. Yuzvendra Chahal was adjudged Man of the Match for his splendid show with the ball. This was the first such occasion when Cuttack hosted two international cricket games in a calendar year. As always Barabati was houseful and Cuttack was appreciated for its love for cricket.