As many as 60 hockey players, including 11 in the national team at present, belong to Sundargarh district, Sports Minister Sudam Marandi told the State Assembly on Saturday.
Marandi, in reply to a question of BJP MlA Dilip Ray, said a whopping 61 players from the State have so far found place in the national team including five who have taken part in Olympics events.
The Minister said most of the players of national and international repute belong to Sundargarh district, known as the cradle of hockey.
Ray had regretted that despite producing the maximum number of players of the game, no national or international event has been organised in Sundargarh district.
The Minister said several facilities to promote the game have been created in the district including four Astroturf grounds.
Marndi said players such as lilima Minz, Deepgrace Ekka, Namita Toppo, Sunita lakra, Anupa Barla, Birendra lakra, Deepsan Tirkey, Anand lakra, Nilam Sanjib Khes, Mariana Kuju and Rashmita Minz are playing for the country in different sections.
Barring Rashmita Minz, all the other players belong to the district, Marndi added. Two of these sportspersons have also been honoured with Padma awards, the Minister pointed out.