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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Poverty and lack of proper facilities have not deterred two tribal girls from Odisha to script tremendous success in the field of sports in national and international levels.

Meet promising hockey star Namasi Jarika and emerging volleyball player Lasyamayee Mahanta who were recently felicitated after returning to their villages following brilliant performances in different national and international level tournaments.

Under the leadership of Namasi, Odisha secured a silver medal in the Khelo India games.

Jarika belongs to Belahari village under Sukinda block in Jajpur district. She lost her father from her childhood. Despite severe financial constraint, she was determined to pursue her passion in hockey. On the back of her hard work, the talented player was selected for Panposh Sports Hostel in 2014 and she never looked back again. 

Subsequently, she was selected for Naval Tata Academy after five years and started practicing under the watchful eyes of some eminent coaches at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. Her passion, hard work and determination finally paid off as under her leadership Odisha finished runners-up in the Khelo India Games.

“We missed the gold by a whisker. Nevertheless, the tournament gave us a great exposure. It was a great learning curve for our players. I have set an aim to represent my country in future,” said Namasi.

Meanwhile, Lasyamayee from Badaposhi village under Thakurmunda block in Mayurbhanj district has recently represented the Women’s U-18 Indian Volleyball team in Thailand.

The spiker from Odisha has also braved poverty and a lot of hardships to establish herself as a promising volleyball player. In the process she became the first spiker from the State to represent India in an international volleyball tournament.

“I am bolstered by the kind of exposure I got with the Indian team at Thiland. My skills have been fine-tuned by rubbing shoulders with many international players. I am determined to cement my place in the Indian team,” said Lasyamayee.

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