Odisha has always been a land of immense athletic talent and it’s only getting better with each passing year. Though there’s still a long way to elevate the medal tallies of our state in various eminent national and global sporting events, but we must say that we are going in the right track for sure. Here are some promising young athletes from Odisha who are determined to make it big in the world of sports in 2017.
1) Birendra Lakra
2016 was not a very good year for this young hockey player as he was out of action for almost more than 6 months pertaining to his injury in the right knee. But later on, he made an excellent comeback in the team which won Asian Champions Trophy 2016. As for 2017, his performance for Ranchi Rays in Hockey India League (HIL) is going to be vital. That apart, many International tournaments are also lined up for Birendra, including the prestigious semi-final round of World Hockey League, Asia Cup and final round of World Hockey League.
2) Srabani Nanda
Srabani has been pretty famous in 2016 for representing India at the Rio Games and for winning a gold medal in the women’s 200 m sprint in South Asian Games (SAG). Moreover, it was a golden opportunity for Srabani when a decision was taken for her to receive training at the renowned MVP Track Club, Jamaica. Many might not know, but the track where Srabani is currently under training, has been made legendary by many distinguished athletes, including the two-time Olympic gold medalist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.
3) Neelam Sanjeep Xess
Another hockey player in this list whose dream almost came true in 2016 is this 18-year-old sports player. Not only did Neelam make his International debut for India in South Asian Games (SAG), he even made a podium finish by bagging the silver medal. Besides, he also lead the Indian U-18 hockey team and was somewhat influential in its victory during U-18 Asia Cup 2016. Surely enough, Neelam is going to be an instant hit in 2017 too, since he has been roped in to make a debut for Kalinga Lancers team of Hockey India League (HIL).
4) Jafar Iqbal
Despite being blind, Jafar has a deep reverence towards the game of cricket. His passionate skills were well demonstrated when he was a part of the Indian National Blind Cricket Team that won the World Cup in 2014, after defeating Pakistan in the finals. Now Jafar and his team are eyeing towards the T20 World Cup For Blind to be organised during January and February of 2017. A good show is definitely expected out of Iqbal who is impressive enough to leave an impact!
5) Dipsan Tirkey
Probably one of the illustrious picks in this list, Dipsan Tirkey’s remarkable journey in 2016 is expected to be followed with even greater things in 2017. His 2016 representation in the Indian Junior Hockey Team as a vice-captain which won Junior World Cup has completely remained a standout. In addition, Dipsan being named as the captain of Indian Junior Hockey Team also justifies his dynamic brilliance in 2016. Now for this year, his goals are all set to acquire a prime place in Indian National Hockey Team 2017 and also to play hard for getting a shot in the Olympics.
6) Sukanya Parida
Sukanya came to the limelight after she played tremendously well in her ODI debut against West Indies in November 2016. As for this year, cricket lovers from Odisha and elsewhere will get to cheer for her during the 2017 Women’s Cricket World Cup. Sukanya truly has an ability to shine in the Indian National Women’s Team which will represent India in the World Cup this year!
Aside from all the aforementioned talented players who have a prospective 2017, there are many others from Odisha whose good fortune and enthusiastic game will let them clinch various trophies. Who knows, a new sports star might also emerge from some remote district of this state and become an all-rounder in the course of this year!