Debashis Das bags 20th Ekalabya Puraskar

debasisihdashBhubaneswar After being in the contention for a couple of years, Odisha’s young chess International Master Debashis Das finally received the 20th Ekalabya Puraskar for the year 2012 at a function here today.
Odisha Assembly Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat handed over the prestigious award, which carried a cash prize of Rs 2 lakhs, Rs 50,000 more than last year, along with a statuette and citation. Parliament Member and IMPaCT trustee Baijayant Panda, Jury Committee member UN Behera and convener Sanjeev Das were present in the function.
International woman weightlifter Pramila Kirsani and athlete Shrabani Nanda were presented with first and second runner-up awards, which carried a cash prize of Rs 50,000 each (double than last year) and citation.
Das won the main award for his impressive performance in the past two years. He won a silver medal in the Parsvanath Commonwealth Chess Championship at New Delhi in May 2010, a gold in the under-18 category of the World Youth Chess Championship at Beijing in July 2010 and a bronze in the same championship at Caldas Novas (Brazil) in November 2011.
Kirsani secured a silver in the Youth Commonwealth Weightlifting Championship at Malaysia in 2010, a gold in the same championship next year at South Africa and a silver in the 13th Asian Youth Championship in Thailand last year.
Nanda, a sprinter, helped India win a bronze medal in the women’s 4×100 meter relay event of the 19th Commonwealth Games at Delhi in 2010. She also bagged as many as four medals in the different National Championships.
Shrabani’s father took the award on behalf of the sprinter, who was not present in the function.
Instituted in the year 1993 by Indian Metals Public Charitable Trust (IMPaCT), the charitable wing of IMFA Group – the leading integrated ferro alloys producer in the country, Ekalabya Puraskar is given every year to young (under-25) 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, Pratima Puhana (all rowing) and K Ravi Kumar (weightlifting).

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