International cyclist Swasti Singh has been honoured with the prestigious 30th Ekalabya Puraskar for the year 2022. The award is instituted by IMFA's charitable wing, IMPaCT.
Swasti received a cash award of Rs 5 lakh along with a citation at the Ekalabya Puraskar function held in Bhubaneswar on Friday.
Mercurial cyclist Swasti has bagged two gold and as many silver medals at the national level. Swasti, who has represented the State in several national events and was credited with the best individual brilliance from April 1, 2020, to March 31, 2022, emerged as the clear winner this year.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Swasti said, “I am very happy to receive the award. I want to congratulate Pyari Xaxa and Shilanand too for getting the award. While the recognition will motivate me to excel more in life, the cash prize will support me in my training and equipment.”
Besides Swasti, two other sportspersons were also felicitated for their remarkable performances in various international and national level tournaments in their respective fields.
Promising international footballer Pyari Xaxa and budding international hockey player Shilanand Lakra also received felicitation during the occasion. Both received cash prize of Rs 50,000 each along with citations.
Xaxa said, “I am very happy to be here. This will give me a much-needed push in my career as a footballer.”
The award ceremony was graced by Billiard and Snooker World Champion and Padma Bhusan Pankaj Advani as the Chief Guest and Asian Games medallist Pranati Mishra as the Guest of Honour.
Baijayant Panda, Trustee and Chairman of the Ekalabya Purskar Committee, was also present at the award ceremony along with the jury members.
Taking to the stage, Panda said, “Many prominent national sports persons have come to encourage the younger ones here. Their presence has had a great impact and I am confident that their presence and their words will be a great inspiration for the future sports stars of Odisha.”
Ekalabya Puraskar, instituted by IMPaCT, the charitable wing of the IMFA, the leading Ferro Alloys producer in the country, in the year 1993, has come a long way to be recognised as the most prestigious sports award of Odisha, drawing parallels with many national awards.