BHUBANESWAR: With six girls making it to Rio Olympics 2016, it will be the highest ever representation from Odisha in any Olympics.
After ace sprinters Srabani Nanda and Dutee Chand, four women hockey players from Odisha have found their place in the Indian Women’s hockey team for the forthcoming Rio Olympics.
Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz and Sunita Lakra will represent the 16-member national team in the Olympics. It was announced in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Notably, former Indian hockey captain Dilip Tirkey had participated in Olympics three times. He is the first player from Odisha to be part of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, said sources.
In 2000, four players—Dilip Tirkey, Lazarus Barla (both hockey), Anuradha Biswal and Rachita Mistry (4×100 metre relay) participated in the Sydney Olympics.
In 2004 Athens Olympics, William Khalko and Dilip Tirkey represented Odisha in men’s hockey team.
However, there was no representation from Odisha in 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Ignes Tirkey and Birendra Lakra were part of the Indian hockey team in 2012 London Olympics. Weightlifter K Ravi Kumar also participated in the 2012 Olympics.