Dream run to honour podium

Purnima, Srabani shine at sports award evening

By Namita Panda in Bhubaneshwar
  • Published 30.08.15
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(From left) Srabani Nanda, Ashok Kumar Sahu, Birendra Lakra, Nanda Kishore Patnaik, Satish Sharma and Purnima Hembram at the award ceremony in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. Picture by Sanjib Mukherjee

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 29: Purnima Hembram comes from a small village in Mayurbhanj, but the 22-year-old is chasing big dreams.

Purnima had clinched a bronze medal in women's heptathlon at the 21st Asian Athletics Championship in China this June.

However, for her, receiving her first State Sports Award on the occasion of Sports Day today was a big moment.

"I will keep performing and I might win many international accolades in the future. But getting recognition from your state government amidst your people will remain special," said the young athlete, who got a thundering applause as she made her way towards the dais to receive the award and cash prize from chief minister Naveen Patnaik in the presence of sports minister Sudam Marandi.

Purnima was one of the two awardees to be honoured for outstanding achievement in 2015.

Winner of the State Sports Award for 2008, Srabani Nanda, who won bronze in the 200-metres run at the event held in China, was honoured with the Biju Patnaik Sports Award.

Both were handed over cash prize of Rs 3 lakh each.

Hosted to mark the Sports Day, the birth anniversary of hockey legend Dhyan Chand, the Biju Patnaik Sports Award for 2014 was presented to basketball player Ashok Kumar Sahu for lifetime achievement, hockey player Birendra Lakra for outstanding performance, Nanda Kishore Patnaik for excellence in coaching and freelance sports journalist Satish Sharma for sports writing.

Dhiren Shabar of Deogarh posthumously won the Biju Patnaik Bravery Award for sacrificing his life to save two girls from electrocution. Dhiren's widow received the silver medal and cash award of Rs 1 lakh.

At the event, Naveen announced that the state government, along with the east zonal chapter of Indian Mountaineering Foundation, would fund an annual expedition of youths from the state to Himalayan peaks above 6,000 metres. The first batch of 15 youths will be going on an expedition named Him Sikhar in 2016.

"Construction of an international-standard climbing facility is also on the anvil at Kalinga Stadium Sports Complex, which will give impetus to adventure sports," said Naveen.

Earlier, sportspersons celebrated the occasion by taking part in a marathon from Kalinga Stadium to 120 Battalion Square in the city.