Odisha Hockey Stars Birendra Lakra & Amit Rohidas Achieve Unique Milestones

Bhubaneswar: Top Odisha defenders Birendra Lakra and Amit Rohidas achieved the distinction of playing their 200th and 100th matches, respectively, for India. Their feats were acknowledged by the team management just before the start of India’s third Group A match of the Tokyo Olympics against Spain on Tuesday. India won 3-0.

Sundargarh-born Lakra has also represented India in the 2012 London Olympics while it took Rohidas 12 long years to make Olympic debut in Tokyo.

Currently the joint vice-captain of the team, Lakra made his senior national team debut in the 2010 South Asian Games and has been part of India’s several memorable moments. His glorious moments included the 2014 Asian Games, Bronze Medal feat in the World League Final 2015 in Raipur and Silver Medal-winning campaign at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Being a product of SAIL Hockey Academy Rourkela, the 31-year-old Lakra has been a vital cog in the Indian defence for quite some time.

This appearance in Tokyo could have been his third Olympics had he not missed out on the Rio Olympics 2016 due to a knee injury.

“It gives me immense joy and satisfaction to be getting a chance to play my 200th international match for India in an event like the Olympics. I couldn’t have achieved this feat without my teammates, family, and Hockey India’s support. I would like to thank each and everyone involved in this wonderful journey and I want to continue to give my best to the team and make proud fans back home by finishing at the podium,” Lakra was quoted as saying ahead of Team India’s third match against Spain on Tuesday.

A relatively younger Rohidas also cemented his place in the national team, but an Olympic appearance seems to have eluded him for so far.

“It has taken me 12 years to reach here. I am extremely delighted to be part of the Olympic squad, one of my biggest dreams has been fulfilled now,” Rohidas was quoted as saying in a Hockey India release a couple of weeks ago.

“I am thankful to every coach who helped me groom as a hockey player. My sole focus is to have a successful campaign at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and the recent successful tours have definitely been a boost for the team’s confidence,” Rohidas had said.

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