The Ekalabya Puraskar-2019 would be given to international weightlifter Jhilli Dalabehera. The Ekalabya Committee comprising of jury members drawn from different walks of life were unanimous in their decision to select Jhilli for the award at a meeting held here today.
The annual award comprising a cash prize of Rs five lakh and a citation would be presented to the talented player at the Ekalabya Award function.
Jhilli has a brilliant international and national track record. With 2 gold medals, 3 silver, and a bronze medal in international weightlifting events between April 1, 2017, and March 31, 2019, she emerged as the clear winner this year.
Besides Jhilli, two other sportspersons will be felicitated for their remarkable performances at various international and national levels in their respective fields. They are women Football player Jabamani Tudu and famous Hockey talent Namita Toppo. Both will receive a cash prize of Rs 50,000 each along with citations. The date for Ekalabya Award function will be announced later.
The Ekalabya Puraskar has been instituted by IMPaCT, the social wing of IMFA, which has been promoting literature, sports, the arts, culture, and other socially meaningful activities in the state for decades.
The Ekalabya Puraskar, an annual award given to young upcoming sportspersons have come a long way to be recognized as the most prestigious sports award of Odisha, drawing parallels with many national awards. It has acted as a catalyst for sportspersons to excel both at national and international levels.
Announcing the names of this year’s winners, Baijayant Panda, former MP and Trustee of IMPaCT said, “IMPaCT has been in continuous pursuit to recognize and foster excellence in sports and literature besides contributing to the general welfare of the society at large. Ekalabya award is instituted to encourage and inspire young sportspersons to perform at the national and international arena.”