Rower Pratima wins Ekalabya Award
Feb 20, 2012
The New Indian Express

International woman rower Pratima Puhan on Sunday was selected to receive the prestigious 19th Ekalabya Award for the year 2011. Jury members of the Ekalabya Award Committee were unanimous in selecting Pratima for the award, which carries a cash award of Rs. 1.5 lakh along with citation.

A trainee of SAI Watersports Centre, Jagatpur (Cuttack), Pratima made history by becoming India’s first woman rower to win a medal in Asian Games. She and her statemate Pramila Prava Minz bagged a bronze in the coxless pair event, clocking seven minutes 47.50 seconds at Guangzhou, China on November 19, 2010.

Since the guideline does not allow sharing of the Ekalabya Award, Pramila was chosen for the first runner-up award, which carries a purse of Rs. 25,000 and citation. The second runner-up award, carrying the same amount, went to India woman football captain Sasmita Mallick. The awards will be conferred at a function, the date of which will be announced later.

“I am really delighted to have been selected for the coveted Ekalabya Award. The credit for this award goes to my partner Pramila, our coach Jose Jacob and the sports-loving people of Odisha,” said Pratima from Hyderabad, where she won three gold medals in the Open National Rowing Championship, that concluded at Hussain Sagar Lake on Sunday.

Ekalabya award was instituted by Indian Metals Public Charitable Trust (IMPaCT), the charitable wing of IMFA Group – the leading integrated Ferro Alloys Producer in the Country, in 1993. The award is given every year to young sportspersons of Odisha in recognition of their outstanding performance in the preceding two years.

Past recipients of the award include Rachita Mistry, Anuradha Biswal (both athletics); Dilip Tirkey, Lazrus Barla, Ignace Tirkey, Prabodh Tirkey, William Xalxo, Gloria Dung Dung, Subhadra Pradhan (all hockey); Shiv Sundar Das, Debasis Mohanty, Sanjay Raul, Rashmi Ranjan Parida (all cricket); Padmini Rout, Kiran Manisha Mohanty (both chess), Pravasini Dwivedi, Mamata Jena (both rowing) and K Ravi Kumar (weightlifting).

Announcing the names of the latest award winners MP (LS) and IMPaCT trustee Baijayant Panda said: “IMPaCT has been in continuous pursuit to recognise and foster excellence in sports. This award has been and will attract young talent and inspire them to perform better in the national and international arena. This shall make our state proud and all of us.”

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