Bhubaneswar: Hockey player Lilima Minz will receive the prestigious 26th Ekalabya Puraskar for the year 2018. The annual award is instituted by IMPaCT, the charitable wing of Indian Metals & Ferro Alloys (IMFA).

The Ekalabya Committee comprising jury members from different walks of life unanimously picked the woman hockey player for the prestigious award at a meeting held here on Sunday. The award carries cash prize of Rs 5 lakh and a citation.

Lilima Minz represented the Indian senior team for the first time in 2011 during a four-nation tournament in Argentina. She was also part of the squad that represented the country in the 2016 summer Olympics.

Minz was also part of the Indian team that won the gold medal in Women's Hockey Asia Cup after a gap of 13 years in Japan on November 5, 2017.

Besides Minz, two other sportspersons - weightlifter Jhili Dalabehera and badminton player Rutuparna Panda - will be felicitated for their remarkable performances and achievements in their respective fields. Both will receive a cash award of Rs 50,000 each along with citations.

Announcing the names of this year's winners, former Lok Sabha MP and Trustee of IMPaCT, Baijayant Panda said, "We feel humbled and gratified that our relentless pursuit to recognise and foster excellence in sports has reaped rich dividends for the state and the country."

The IMPaCT has been promoting literature, sports, the arts, culture and other socially meaningful activities in the state for decades.

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