PM heaps praises on ace hockey defender Birendra Lakra

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR:  Ace hockey player Birendra Lakra who hung up his boots after the Tokyo Olympics was in for a pleasant surprise when he received a letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the letter, the Prime Minister thanked Lakra for his “indelible contribution” to Indian hockey. “You have been a key part of a vital decade for Indian hockey. You also continued the glorious tradition of Odisha of producing outstanding hockey players, particularly defenders. You began playing hockey at a time when no Indian could imagine our nation would win an Olympic medal in the near future,” Modi wrote.

One of the things the coming generation of athletes can learn from Lakra is a spirit of resilience, Modi said.   “One cannot imagine how you would have felt when you missed the bus to Rio due to an injury. You successfully overcame that and made it to Tokyo, and thus became a part of the history that was scripted there. It is remarkable how you have always remained humble despite scaling soaring heights of success,” the Prime Minister said.

Recalling his meeting with Lakra, the Prime Minister said, “When I had met you, and the rest of the Tokyo 2020 contingent, I had urged you all to strengthen India’s Amrit Mahotsav by visiting various schools or colleges by August 2023. I had requested you all to do so in order to spread awareness on eliminating malnutrition and to encourage sports.”

Overwhelmed by the appreciation of the Prime Minister, Lakra in a social media post said, “We athletes contribute our life to the sport and when it is acknowledged by Hon’ble PM of the country, it feels like we have really done our bit for nation-building. Heartfelt thanks to Hon’ble Narendra Modi ji for his warm gesture. The time spent with you at the interaction after Tokyo 2020 will always remain memorable.”  Olympic bronze medal-winning Indian hockey star Lakra announced his retirement from international hockey on September 30, hours after his teammate Rupinder Pal Singh announced his retirement.

Gharial hatchling rescued from fishing net
 Bhubaneswar: An endangered gharial hatchling has been rescued after it was caught in a fishing net in Birupa river, a distributary of Mahanadi, in Cuttack. Deputy Director of Nandankanan Zoological Park Sanjeet Kumar said a fisherman found the gharial hatchling stuck in his net on Friday and called the forest officials who then rescued the trapped reptile. Kumar said the fisherman will be given `1,000 cash award under the gharial species recovery programme implemented by the Zoo in Mahanadi for revival of gharial population in the river. The hatchling has been handed over to Nandankanan for veterinary care. The hatchling will be kept at the observation pool in Nandankanan and shifted to the pool at Tikarpada Wildlife Sanctuary in Angul for its release into natural habitat towards end of this month. 

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