Odisha CM felicitates Tokyo-returned hockey players, offers cash awards

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday felicitated the Indian hockey players of the state and handed them cash awards for their historic performances at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics.

While Birendra Lakra and Amit Rohidas were awarded Rs 2.5 crore each following the national men team’s historic bronze-medal winning feat in Tokyo, Deep Grace Ekka and Namita Toppo were given Rs 50 lakh each after the women’s side reached the semifinal stage for the first time in Olympics.

Patnaik also handed Lakra and Rohidas offer letters for appointment as deputy superintendent of police in the state police department during the felicitation programme at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

He lauded the performances of the two teams and advised them to continue their hard work and bring more laurels to the country.

The players expressed their gratitude with Lakra presenting the chief minister the Indian team jersey with signatures of all team members.

Ekka also presented the chief minister with the women’s team jersey signed by all the team members.

The Indian men’s team had defeated Germany 5-4 to win the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, the country’s first medal in the sport in 41 years.

The women’s team, however, lost to Great Britain in the bronze medal play-off

The CM, who has been championing the sport over the past several years, assured all support to the hockey players from Odisha.

The city-based Kalinga Stadium is set to host the next edition of Men’s Hockey World Cup.

Minister for Sports and Youth Services Tusharkanti Behera and the chairman of Odisha Hockey Promotion Council, Dilip Tirkey, were present at the ceremony. Budding hockey players of the state also cheered for the Olympians.

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