Bhubaneswar: The prestigious Ekalabya Puraskar-2017 was conferred on international hockey defender Dipsan Tirkey, here on Sunday. A citation and a cash award of Rs 5 lakh was presented  to Dipsan at a function organised to celebrate the silver jubilee year of the Purasar.

On this occasion international famed athlete Amiya Mallick and hockey player Deep Grace Ekka were also also  felicitated for their outstanding performance last year.

State sports minister Chandra Sarathi Behera graced the occasion as chief guest . Civil Defence Director BK Shamra , Badminton coach P. Gopichand, Parliamentarian Baijaynta Panda, Maqbool Ali and IMFA corporate communication chief Ashok Behera were present.

Dipsan was recently seen in action as part of the Indian team in the Men’s Hockey World League held at Bhubaneswar. Amiya represented India in the 22nd Asian Athletics Championships held at Bhubaneswar, and Gracee, an Olympian who played in the Rio Olympics, was part of the Indian team that emerged as champion in the Asia Cup hockey , recently.

The Ekalabya Puraskar, instituted by Indian Metals Public Charitable Trust  (IMPact), is conferred every year on young, upcoming sports persons of Odiaha  with a view to promote sports in the state. The list of past awardees are Olympians Dilip Tirkey, Prabodh Tirkey and Ignace Tirkey, chess players Debashis Das and Padmini Rout, cricketers Shiv Sunder Das and Debashish Mohanty, shooter Shriyanka Sadangi, weight-lifter K Ravi Kumar, athletes Dutee Chand, Purnima Hemram and Srabani Nanda.