Bhubaneswar: Prominent woman athlete Purnima Hembram on Monday was conferred with the prestigious Biju Patnaik Sports Award while Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also felicitated six other Odia girls, who participated in the Rio Olympics, on the National Sports Day.
While Purnima Hembram got Rs 2 lakh, citation for the Biju Patnaik Sports Award for the year 2015, Abinash Mishra received Rs 1 lakh as the winner of the Biju Patnaik Bravery Award.
Four women hockey players from Odisha- Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz and Sunita Lakra, two sprinters- Dutee Chand and Srabani Nanda, who participated in the Rio Olympics, were also felicitated by the Chief Minister on the ocassion.
All the six players were given Rs 5 lakh each by the state govenrment.
Similarly, Asirbad Behera was felicitated and given Rs 50,000 for his contribution towards development of sports in the state, while coach P Dharma Rao (weight lifting) and Chitrasen Patra (football) were felicitated and given Rs 1 lakh each.
Prominent sports journalist Tanmay Das was felicitated and given Rs 50,000 for his contribution to the field, while five other persons- Naresh Chandra Baliarsingh Mohapatra, Bikram Keshari Nayak, Debasis Sahu, Mahendra Kumar Nayak and Dhyananda Panda -were felicitated and given Rs 25,000 each for social service.
Addressing the gathering, Patnaik said a good sports climate is coming up in the state.
"It is a pride for the state that six Odia girls have participated in the Olympics, 2016. Though they have not won any medal, their participation itself will encourage other sports persons in the state," Patnaik said.
Asserting that the state government was setting up "world class" sports infrastructure and coaching facilities, Patnaik said this will further brighten the prospect of sports persons in Odisha.
"To encourage youths in the sports, the state government has announced jobs and other incentives for the sports persons," the chief minister said.