Govt announces cash prizes for 4 Odia girls in hockey team

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha govenrment on Tuesday announced a cash prize of Rs 50,000 each for four girls from the state who have been selected in the Indian women’s hockey team for the Rio Olympics next month.

Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz and Sunita Lakra from Odisha will represent the national women’s team.

“The state government has decided to give Rs 50,000 each to the four girls,” an elated sports and youth service minister Sudam Marandi told reporters here.

Stating that it was a matter of pride for the state that its four girls will be part of the Indian Olympic team, Marandi said that earlier two other girls – Srabani Nanda and Dutee Chand – have also got tickets for the Olympics.

Congratulating defender Deep Grace Ekka, midfilder Namita Toppo, forwards Lilima Minz and Sunita Lakra, Odisha Cricket Association secretary Asirbad Behera declared Rs 25,000 Cash award each.

Rabindra Kumar Parida, General Secretary of Odisha Olympic Association, also congratulated all the four players and declared Rs 10,000 each for them.

Former India hokcey team captain Dilip Tirkey said the Indian women’s hockey team has qualified for Olympics after 36 years.

“We are proud that four Odia girls have got berth in Indian women’s hockey team which will participate in the Olympics,” Tirkey, who is also an MP, said.