Four women hockey players from Odisha have found a place in the Indian squad for the Rio Olympics starting from August 5. Defenders Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Sunita Lakra and midfielder Lilima Minz from Odisha will represent the national team in the Olympics.
Indian hockey women will feature in the quadrennial Games after a gap of 36 years. The state government announced a cash prize of Rs 50,000 each for the four girls.
"The state government has decided to give Rs 50,000 each to the four girls. It is a matter of pride for the state that its four girls will be part of the Indian Olympic team," said Sports and Youth Service Minister Sudam Marandi.
Ace sprinters Srabani Nanda and Dutee Chand from Odisha have already selected for the Olympics. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also congratulated the four girls.
"Congratulate Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Lilima Minz & Sunita Lakra for making it to #Rio2016 women's hockey team. Wishing all success," Naveen Patnaik tweeted.
Former India hockey team captain Dilip Tirkey also congratulated the Odia girls for being part of the Olympic team. Notably, Dilip had participated in Olympics three times starting in 1996 Atlanta Games. The record cap holder for India is the first player from Odisha to be part of the Olympics.