Bhubaneswar: The Ekalabya Puraskar 2018, one of the most prestigious sports awards of the state has been bagged by female hockey player Ms. Lilima Minz.
The Ekalabya Committee comprising of jury members drawn from different walks of life were unanimous in their decision to select emerging and talented female hockey player Ms. Lilima Minz for the award at a meeting held here today. She will get a cash award of Rs 5 lakh along with a citation at the Ekalabya Award function, the date for which will be announced soon.
Ms. Lilima Minz represented Indian senior team for the first time in 2011 during a four-nation tournament in Argentina.She completed her 100 appearances for the National team. She was also part of the squad that represented India in 2016 summer Olympics.Ms. Minz was part of the Indian team that won the gold medal Women’s Hockey Asia Cup after a gap of 13 years at Kakamigahara city in Japan on Nov 5, 2017.
Besides Ms. Minz , two other sportspersons will be felicitated for their remarkable performances at various International & National level in their respective fields. They are Ms. Jhili Dalabehera, Weight Lifter and Badminton Player Ms. Rutuparna Panda. Both will receive a cash prize of Rs. 50,000/- each along with citations.
The Ekalabya Puraskar has been instituted by IMPaCT, the social wing of IMFA, which has been promoting literature, sports, the arts, culture and other socially meaningful activities in the state for decades.
The Puraskar, an annual award given to young upcoming sportspersons has come a long way to be recognized as the most prestigious sports award of Odisha, drawing parallels with many national awards. It has acted as a catalyst for sportspersons to excel both at National & International level. The list of past awardees who have gone on to create history includes names like International Hockey players Dillip Tirkey, Probodh Tirkey Ignace Tirkey & Dipsan Tirkey, Chess players Debashis Das & Padmini Rout, Cricketers Shib Sundar Das & Debashish Mohanty, Shooter Shriyanka Sadangi, Weight-lifter K Ravi Kumar, Athletes Dutee Chand, Purnima Hemram and Srabani Nanda.
Announcing the names of this year’s winners, Shri Baijayant Panda Hon’ble former MP (LS) and Trustee of IMPaCT said, “We feel humbled and gratified that our relentless pursuit to recognize and foster excellence in sports has reaped rich dividends for the state and the country. We are delighted that we have upheld the values of fairness and transparency, raising the bar with every passing year and that the prestigious Ekalabya Puraskar has carved a special niche in the hearts of sports lovers .”