I reside in a metropolitan city in Karnataka. A few months ago, I visited my home town in Chikmangalur district.
While returning home in bus, I sat next to a school girl. After a while, I started talking to the girl. We introduced ourselves to each other. I observed that she had tears in her eyes and faced the window. It was very obvious that she was not in a good mood.
I noticed that there was a sports bags in her lap with a tracksuit inside it. In order to keep the conversation going, I asked her about sports and where was she coming from?
She quickly replied that she and other girls from school had gone to Hobbli to participate in the block level sports meet. Due to some unforeseen reasons, the game her team was participating had been rescheduled. The competitions will now be held the following day. She was however not happy because the school had refused to participate in the event.
The town of Hobbli is approx 25-30 kms from Chikmangalur. The school administration was not willing to bear the travel and food expenses for the following day. This angered the young girl even more because the boys had been given a fair chance to compete. All the girls of the school pleaded with the administration to allow them to participate. The administration felt that the girls did not have potential in sports. Therefore, it was not advisable to incur any further expenditure.
I strongly felt that an external intervention might help. I decided to convince the parents of some girls and also the school administration. After multiple attempts, the administration finally agreed. My little friend got a chance to participate in the event.
Does the story end here?
Initially I was happy that my friend was given a chance to participate. But thinking about the number of children being denied such opportunities broke my heart. After all sports instils a sense of discipline, dedication and teamwork.
Keeping in mind the current sporting trends, it is seen that players from rural backgrounds are excelling in the field and bringing laurels to the country. There is vast amount of untapped potential in the country.
Kshitij would like to offer a well being module focusing on sportsmanship, team building, ethics and fairness for students. The team would also like to work with teachers to reduce gender discrimination and promote sports among educational institutions.