Odisha’s Leading Sportswomen
From ages, men were considered to be superior to women. Today, in the 21st century we can proudly say that all genders are given equal respect in all fields, including sports. On this International Women’s Day, we pay tribute to the sportswomen from Odisha who have made the country proud over the past year.
Dutee Chand’s excellent performances in various competitions both in national, as well as the international level, is commendable. Last year, she bagged two silver medals at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. She completed the 100 metres event in 11.32 seconds clinching silver for India, a feat that was achieved after 20 years. After P.T. Usha (in 1986), she is the only sprinter to bag two sprint medals in a single edition of the quadrennial continental games.
Padmini Rout, the 25-year-old chess master, a recipient of the Biju Patnaik Sports Award and the Ekalavya Award, won the Asian Continental Chess Championship 2018 in the Philippines. She had also won Indian Women’s Championship for four consecutive years, from 2014 to 2017.
Namita Toppo, Odisha’s hockey star clinched her 150th international cap last year. She helped India finish fourth in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018. Over the years, she has represented Odisha as well as India in various competitions and has repeatedly made us proud every time.
Lilima Minz and Sunita Lakra are two more superstars from Odisha who represent the Indian Women’s Hockey team. Lilima was awarded the prestigious Ekalavya Puraskar in 2018. She has played over 100 international matches including some big tournaments like the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World Hockey League and Hawks Bay Cup, Asia Cup, Asian Champions Trophy. Sunita, on the other hand, with over 116 international caps is now widely considered to be the backbone of the Indian team’s defense.
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day today, Odisha salutes the remarkable achievements made by the women of this state.