Coimbatore

A football tournament with a difference

Janani Shivakumar (right), the climate activist from New Jersey, interacting with the girls at the ‘Girls Play Global’ football tournament held at Thavathiru Santhalinga Adigalar Higher Secondary School in Perur, Coimbatore, on Sunday.

Janani Shivakumar (right), the climate activist from New Jersey, interacting with the girls at the ‘Girls Play Global’ football tournament held at Thavathiru Santhalinga Adigalar Higher Secondary School in Perur, Coimbatore, on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: S_SIVA SARAVANAN

Apart from encouraging girls to take up football, the event also emphasised on environment protection

Coimbatore played host to a football tournament on Sunday.

With 10 football teams from five schools across Coimbatore and Tiruppur districts, the all-girls football tournament was organised by Girls Play Global (GPG), an initiative by 15-year-old US-based climate activist Janani Shivakumar.

The tournament, held at Thavathiru Santhalinga Adigalar Higher Secondary School in Perur, encouraged the young girls to take up football and also emphasised on environment protection. The players were also evaluated for ‘Climate Action Presentation’, where they are required to present methods for conservation of environment as per the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.

The schools that participated were Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Thondamuthur, government-aided Thavathiru Santhalinga Adigalar Higher Secondary School, two private schools in Coimbatore and one private school from Tiruppur.

Climate-themed event

“Honestly, this is a dream come true,” said Ms. Janani, who is studying Grade 10 in New Jersey. This would be a significant step for the girls who are interested in sports but do not have adequate encouragement from their parents or schools, she said. To add to the ‘climate-themed’ event, plastic items were not used, Ms. Janani said.

K. Shivakumar, Ms. Janani's father, said that private schools were allowed in the competition to bring in “a sense of competitiveness.” He noted that initially it was planned to jointly evaluate the climate action presentation and the football tournament but decided to present awards separately to both the events. “Had this been a level-playing field, we could have done so,” Mr. Shivakumar said.

“This tournament is like going to kindergarten for our students,” said N. Arunthathi, in-charge of Thavathiru Santhalinga Adigalar Higher Secondary School. Noting that the school does not have a full-time sports teacher, she said that the girls were trained only once in a week by R. Jagan, head coach and team manager of GPG. After board examinations next year, the school will focus more on football training for girls, Ms. Arunthathi said.

Mr. Jagan said that the Thondamuthur and Perur teams he trained did not qualify for the semi-finals. “It took them nearly one-and-a-half months to adjust to the training,” he said.

However, he noted that the girls from Thondamuthur and Perur schools have good potential to become football players.

N. Deepika, a Class XI student from Thavathiru Santhalinga Adigalar Higher Secondary School, said that even though her team did not qualify for the finals, she enjoyed the training. “We learned during the training how to be alert,” she said. K. Ramya studying Class XI in Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Thondamuthur, said that the tournament was a training for her. “We learned the mistakes we committed and will not repeat those again,” she said.

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Printable version | Apr 9, 2020 1:16:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/a-football-tournament-with-a-difference/article30427534.ece

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