The recently concluded Rio Olympics 2016 have brought about a shift in the mindset of Indians regarding sports. Earlier, most parents and society members wanted children to focus their attention on studies and academics only. But now, seeing the pride and glory which PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmakar have brought to our nation, more and more parents are understanding the importance of sports, health and fitness in a child’s life.
There is a positive sentiment in the air with communities and neighbourhoods coming together to promote children who are participating in outdoor sports. From ensuring that localities have enough playgrounds, to hiring coaches for kids to simply showing their support by voting for their favourite team in HT GIFA, we are seeing tremendous value for sports swell in the city.
In case of GIFA though, this is also driven by inter locality pride where residents believe their societies are the best areas for kids and want to prove it by backing the children. Rashmi Gupta, resident of Indirapuram says “I love that we have a playground and field in my society where kids and run around and play sports after school. I am supporting my society’s team by voting for them.” Anju Julka from New Friends Colony says, “It’s extremely important for kids to engage in physical activity. I’m so glad the sporting culture in India is witnessing a positive change. I would be so proud if tomorrow a kid from my neighbourhood becomes a big sportsperson.”
Mr T H Calvert, Vice Principal of The Frank Anthony Public School, New Delhi says, “GIFA is a well-managed and well organised tournament. It is a wonderful opportunity for the young to show their skill and bring out their best.”
Gurgaon has demonstrated strong participation in GIFA with representation from 84 teams. In comparison, Noida has only 34 teams in the tournament while Ghaziabad is ahead with a count of 41 teams. In Delhi, Green Park and surrounding areas are leading the way with 34 teams followed by Mayur Vihar localities with 26 teams. So it seems South and East Delhi communities are very supportive of inculcating a habit of sports among youth.
We’ve seen a lot of inter-locality rivalry among teams as they raced to amass votes. In the junior category, team Ramprastha Invincible from Ghaziabad and team VVS Vipers from Delhi proved to be tough competitors for the top spot in the voting tally and both raised a commendable 3000-plus votes each with Ramprastha Invincible overtaking VVS Vipers in the last leg. They left the other teams far behind with more than double the votes of the team in third place. While in the senior category, we saw close competition between 3 teams, Eicher FC from Faridabad, Youngsters FC from Delhi and Bavarians from North Delhi.
HT GIFA has sparked feelings of rivalry and competition as well as team spirit and support among all teams. Those teams which lost pre-qualifiers but showed immense passion, determination and persistence in getting votes have won themselves a second chance in the HT GIFA tournament and will compete against the 370 shortlisted teams.