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Skipper first, husband later - Dilip tirkey ties knot, but no honeymoon

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OUR BUREAU   |   Published 06.02.06, 12:00 AM

Bhubaneswar/Rourkela, Feb. 6: India?s hockey captain Dilip Tirkey today said ?I do? to his sweetheart Meera at a Catholic church in Rourkela.

Tirkey, whose marriage plans have met with societal disapproval on account of his wife being from the same clan, married Meera at a two-hour-long function in the Catholic diocese church located in the steel city?s Hamirpur area.

The hockey hero exchanged the customary rings before a huge gathering of friends and acquaintances at 11 am, though his parents Vincent Tirkey and Regina Tirkey were not there to bless the couple.

Meera?s father Isidore Tirkey, a hockey player in his days, was present by his daughter?s side. Dilip?s siblings ? three brothers and sister Jyothi ? were present during the marriage. Though some members of his community had threatened to disrupt the marriage, the ceremony passed off peacefully.

A relieved Dilip said: ?I am thankful to everybody that the process went off peacefully with everybody?s blessings and cooperation. Marriage is a wonderful thing and everybody should experience it.?

The couple walked down to the church from the Bishop?s House at 9.30 am in a procession accompanied by tribal drummers and young dancers. While the hockey captain was dressed in a two-piece suit, Meera wore a bridal gown. Bishop Alphonse Bilung solemnised the marriage as the ace defender and his fianc?e exchanged vows. Tirkey also smeared vermilion on the forehead of his wife.

The newlyweds then went to the bride?s residence in the Jagada locality, where her father hosted a reception.

Orissa sports minister Debasis Nayak and Indian hockey stars Lazarus Barla, Prabodh Tirkey, William Xalxo and Bimal Lakra were present at the wedding.

Emerging from the church after the nuptials, the hockey skipper said honeymoon was not on his mind as he would now have to prepare for the India-Pakistan six-Test series that starts on February 17.

?Hockey comes first, then family. After the Pakistan series, we will have to prepare for the Commonwealth Games. At this moment, I have no plans (for a holiday),? he said.

And what about the bride? ?I am happy,? was all that a beaming Meera said.

The couple left for Bhubaneswar where they will host a reception on Friday. The party is likely to be attended by a host of sports personalities.

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