Dilip Tirkey("Dilip") Kumar Tirkey, age 28, (born November 24, 1977 in Savnamara near Sundargarh, Orissa) is a field hockey defender from India, who belongs to the Oraon tribe of Chota Nagpur.Dilip's parents are Vincent Tirkey and Resina Tirkey. He made his international debut for the Indian national team in 1995 against England in the Indira Gandhi Gold Cup. He has played in three Olympics and is considered as one of the best penalty corner hitters in the world.
He is adjudged the best player in the recently concluded 3rd PHL. Etching the career graph of an Adivasi lad from a remote hamlet of Orissa moving up the social ladder to become the captain of the national hockey team is a fascinating exercise. It is not easy to flinch from admiring the steady progress to stardom of Dilip Tirkey in the incomprehensible history of Indian hockey.
Call it destiny or coincidence, the fact remains that first Indian captain to the Olympics in 1928 at Amsterdam was an Adivasi — Jaipal Singh Munda. It is important to note that hockey in India has been inextricably linked to the inherent and often untapped Adivasi talent for decades. Dilip Tirkey symbolises the quality and content of a whole generation of Adivasi stars. This community had few backers when India was ruling the sport. Always acknowledged but left uncared for, the Adivasi genius for sport, notably hockey, remained in the background for years.
As the successor of India's most capped player ever, Pargat Singh, Tirkey captained the national squad for almost a decade. He's the only Adivasi to represent India in three Olympic Games, starting in 1996. After the 2004 Summer Olympics, where India finished in seventh place, he is playing in the Netherlands, for HC Klein Zwitserland in the highest league named Hoofdklasse, alongside his fellow countryman Gagan Ajit Singh.
He is the captain of Orissa Steelers,which won the 3rd Premier Hockey League title of India. Under the captaincy of Tirkey the Orissa Steelers did a dream run in which many of the top teams were perished. It was the maiden appearance of orissa steelers in the PHL.The comprises many immensely talented tribal (adivasi) players from the state of Orissa. players like Roshan Minz and Sunil Ekka are good prospects.
Dilip Tirkey is married to his sweetheart Mira Tirkey in 2006. Some members of the ace defender's community had earlier threatened to boycott him and protest the marriage saying that he was going against an age-old custom by marrying a girl from his own clan.
A family member of the hockey player, however, said the local tribal Oram Society as well as the local church had sanctioned the marriage.
Other adivasi players, who capped for India, and hail from Orissa are Ignacious (Ignace) Tirkey, Prabodh Tirkey, Lazarus Barla and William Khalkho.
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