The mineral-rich Sundargarh is also rich in hockey talent. It produced the man who came to bear the title of ‘Wall of Indian Hockey’. Odisha takes pride to have developed a field hockey star who is the first & only such player from India to have played more than 400 international matches. Known for having played predominantly as a full-back, he is best recognized for his penalty corner-kick. He was the captain in the Indian hockey team, winning a gold medal in the 2003 Afro Asian Games, Hyderabad. He has represented India in 3 Olympic Games & was Captain of the Indian Hockey Team at the 2004 Summer Olympics at Athens.

He is the icon and idol of hockey lovers across the globe, he is none other than Dilip Tirkey. He has several sports achievements to his credit. Tirkey proved his mettle at a young age, by helping India win at the Under-21 Challengers Cup Tournament of 1997, Poland. He won India a gold medal at the 1998 Asian Games, Bangkok. In the same year, he was bestowed with the ONGC-Hockey Year Book Award. Not only does his connection with hockey need no introduction, but also his implementation of it into the service of those who need it most. He developed the Dilip Tirkey Sports Research Development Foundation, and it has organized one of the largest hockey tournaments in the world. Here, the tribals of Odisha, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh comprised over 22,000 players, and 1,500 teams from 900 villages, hitting the Guinness world record. The objective of the tournament was to spread an environment of sports in the Naxal-infested regions and ensure that the tribal youth pick up hockey sticks instead of guns.

He is the first ever tribal to have received the prestigious Padma Shri award.

VARINDIA boasts of him as a prominent Crown Jewels of Odisha.

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