On 13 November 2017, Centre for Social Research conducted its first sub-district level sports event for girls under the ‘Sports for Girls Project’ at Shahabad Markanda, Kurukshetra district. The CSR Team arrived at Shahabad Hockey Stadium at 10 am, and despite the foggy weather, we found the ground bustling with girlsalready warming me up for the match. The event was well-organised and the coach Mr. Gurbaj Singh along with his associate Mr. Gurpreet Singh had divided and geared up sixty-four girls into four hockey teams: Blue Race, Dabang Shahabad, Yellow Wizard, and White Hall.
The event commenced with a keynote address by Dr. Deepinder Walia, Principal, Ram Prasad D.A.V. School, Shahabad, who encouraged the girls and praised the work of Mr. Gurbaj Singh. Dr. Walia is known for her support and encouragement of sports and physical education, and most of the girls representing the Shahabad Hockey team are students at Ram Prasad, D.A.V. School. Then, Mrs. Ravinder Kaur Ajrana and Mr. Kanwaljeet Singh Ajrana, as well as Karan Raj Toor revered locally for their social work especially on women issues, graciously addressed the girls and motivated them to pursue sports. Thereafter, Dr. Manasi Mishra, Head, Research Division, Centre for Social Research, introduced the organisation to the audience and spoke about Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme and the purpose of conducting these sports events to further the goal of empowering girls.
The girls participated enthusiastically in all the matches, and the games were refereed by two young boys named Harsh and Abhishek. The tournament was judged by Mr. Gurpreet Singh and Mr. Ishwar Singh, who monitored and coordinated the competition meticulously. The event saw a considerable presence of parents who came to watch their girls play even though it was a working day. Also, the coach Gurbaj Singh used this opportunity to interact with the parents and persuade them to support their kids in their endeavours. The boy’s Hockey team played the role of active spectators who actively cheered on the playing teams.
The tournament consisted of three matches, and the final match was held between Blue Race and Dabang Shahabad. The finale of the Hockey tournament was exciting and the team Dabang Shahabad won the match by penalty shout (4-0). The winning team of the sub-district level Hockey competition – Dabang Shahabad and the runners-up – Blue Race, were awarded their gold and silver medals respectively, by the esteemed Chief Guests: Mr. Sandeep Singh, Olympian, and ex-Captain Indian Hockey Team, and Mr. Baldeep Raj Chawla Napa Pradhan . The title of ‘Girl of the Match’ was given to Ms. Radha and the ‘Girl of the tournament’ was accorded to Ms. Sonam. They were both heartily congratulated by our esteemed chief guests and awarded the scholarship of two-thousand rupees each, as part of providing small scholarships to girls to help them pursue sports. Also, all the four participating teams received certificates of participation.
After the prize-giving ceremony, Dr. Manasi Mishra addressed the participants thanking them for participating and encouraging the girls to motivate their friends to pursue sports as well. She ended her speech by asking the girls to raise their voices to the slogans of ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’. In the end, Mr. Gurpreet Singh said the vote of thanks, congratulating the winners, and thanking the audience for their support and patience. The children present at the stadium were provided refreshments which they enjoyed.