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Dilip Tirkey Gets Padam Shree (1/26/2004)
--K. Arumugam
Defendable defender Dilip Tirkey has been chosen for coveted civilian award Padam Shree. He becomes the 15th Indian hockey player to get the award since its inception in 1957. The annual award is given to civilians who excel in various walk of life. Hockey family in India welcomes the timely recognition of Tirkey’s contribution to sports. The announcement of Government of India, made on the eve of 25th Republic Day, has won the heart of sports lovers. Along with Dilip, cricket capatain Saurav Ganguly, his deputy Rahul Dravid, Anju Joseph, who won the bronze at the latest World Athletic championship were identified for the award which will be conferred by President of India in a month’s time.

Dilip Tirkey, under whose captaincy India won the inaugural Afro–Asian Games recently, thus becomes the first adivasi (tribal) to be decorated so. It was Indian hockey’s fourth padamshree in the last 10 years after Pargat Singh, Dhanraj Pillay and Mukesh Kumar.

On learning the announcement, Olympiona Jagbir Singh said: Jagbir Singh from Agra: Wonderful news. He richly deserves this, all the more because he is the first tribal to get this top honour. His skills are superb, especially anticipation. He comes ahead and receives the ball, a sign of confidence. In one to one situation, he was hardly dodged and won the ball nine out of ten times. He is very important to team. Whenever he was shaky, India was always down. That was his significance in the team. I can compare him with Manohar Toppno in term of skills and style. When forwards slag, Dilip takes the ball away. His tackling is similar to indoor hockey as he all the time manages to keep the stick flat. This skill came to him naturally though he never played indoor hockey. He is outstanding in all the matches he played, difficult to just say “Oh. He played this tournament well, that tournament bad”. Because he has a rare consistency which I hardly see with many others. Another thing about him is being non-controversial. He co-operated with all the coaches. He endeared with all the coaches because he is a good listener. He speaks less, believes in doing rather than just talking.

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