The Trio of Deepika Kumari, Nikki Pradhan and Laxmi Rani Manjhi are all geared up for the biggest sporting event Rio Olympics 2016. The Pioneer presents a glimpse of these sport personalities, exploring their early days, career and achievements.
Deepika Kumari (Archery)
Early days – Born on June 13, 1994 in a lower middle class family, made her first breakthrough in 2005 when she entered Arjun Archery Academy, an institute set up by former CM Arjun Munda’s wife Meera Munda at Kharsawan. But her professional archery journey began in the year 2006 when she joined the Tata Archery Academy in Jamshedpur.
Career – Deepika is currently ranked World No.5 Archery player. She has won a Gold medal in the 2010 Commonwealth games in the women’s individual recurve event. She qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where she competed in the Women’s Individual and Women’s team events, finishing in eighth place in the latter. Several major National and International awards are in her kitty.
Achievements- Kumari is a recipient of Padma Shri Award. She was conferred the Arjuna Award, India’s second highest sporting award in the year 2012 by President of India Pranab Mukherjee. In February 2014, she was honored with FICCI Sportsperson of the Year Award.
Nikki Pradhan (Hockey)
Early days –Pradhan is the first woman hockey player from Jharkhand to represent India in Rio Olympics. This 22-year-old girl hails from a small village named Hesel in Murhu block of Khunti district. Pradhan picked up hockey stick at a tender age under the guidance of Dasrath Mahato. Interesting, all her siblings are associated with hockey.
Career – Pradhan started playing hockey in her village before joining a professional coaching camp in Ranchi in 2005. She made her debut for the senior Indian team in 2015.
Achievements – Pradhan is the only woman from the State, who is included in the 16 member squad for Rio Olympics, which also marks the return of Indian women’s hockey in the event after a gap of 36 years.
Laxmi Rani Manjhi (Archery)
Early Days- The right handed recurve player will represent the country in Rio Olympics along with ace archer Deepika Kumari and Rimil Buriuly. Born on January 26, 1989 in Bagula, Jharkhand is presently residing at Chittaranjan, Asansol in West Bengal. Manjhi belongs to Santhal tribe.
Career – Manjhi first encounter with the national coach Dharmendra Tiwari changed her life completely. First chance to become an archer was offered to her when the selectors for the archery academy visited her Government School. Laxmi at present works with Indian Railways in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh.
Achievement – Bringing laurel to the nation, Manjhi performed well at the 2015 World Archery Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark and clinched the silver medal in the team re curve event.