Srinagar: For the first time ever, women teams will take part in the All India Police Football Championships which will get underway at the renovated Bakshi Stadium in Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital from this Sunday.
The event is nothing short of a dream come true for most of the players in the Sashatra Seema Bal (SSB) team who have waited for five years to see this day.
“I feel very good and excited. We were eagerly waiting for this tournament as it’s the first time we got a chance to be part of this tournament,” Neha Khan, who hails from UP’s Gorakhpur, told PTI.
She said tournaments like these can motivate girls to make their career in sports.
“Many women are not encouraged to move out from homes. With these kinds of tournaments, they can get inspiration for getting jobs through sports quota,” she added.
Dharamshala Kumari, the veteran from Bihar, said while it was her first time in the All India Police tournament, she wished the next generation of women take up sports as well.
“I got support from my family in sports but joining the defence force, I faced little difficulty. But I love being in defence as it gives me an opportunity to play,” she added.
Asked if the men’s game was better, the women defended their game with ferocity.
“Men and women (players) are the same, both are playing well at their levels and our team has played in ISL as well,” Gunjan, hailing from Bihar, said.
Monika, who comes from Haryana, said her team was performing well and should attract audiences.
“Women audiences, if they come to watch our matches, will be motivated to participate in sports activities,” she said.
Fittingly, it will be the first major tournament to be held at the stadium after it was renovated at a cost of Rs 50 crore. The stadium has been upgraded and equipped with world-class facilities.
“The last big tournament held in Kashmir was the Santosh Trophy that was played here in 2008. After that no big event was conducted here in Kashmir valley,” Waseem Ahmad, chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Football Association, said.
According to secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council Nuzhat Gul, 34 men’s teams and eight women’s teams will take part in the tournament which will be played at three venues Bakshi Stadium, TRC synthetic turf stadium and Kashmir University grounds.
“Players who come from different parts of the country to play in Kashmir see and experience our culture, hospitality and peaceful atmosphere. They will become our ambassadors when they go back to their native places…
“It’s a positive step, such a national event is happening in JK. Sports have an iconic effect on our young generation who get inspiration by watching national players,” Gul said.
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