“Take care girls. Courage in the face of adversity makes great sports people”, read one of the posts from a well-wisher, Jankai Visvanath, a resident of Pune on the Facebook page of India’s Women’s Football team.
The girls, members of the U-14 team, which was in Nepal when the earthquake shattered the country and collapsed the entry gates of Dasrath Stadium where they were supposed to play Iran, stayed calm and lived through moments of panic before they were put on a flight back home.
“We were doing practice before the match with Iran, when we experienced tremors, and all of us run for cover. We had never seen something so scary,” said Maymol Rocky, the coach and a former Indian player.
Both the teams were rushed to Hotel View Bhrikuti in Kathmandu, and they stayed the whole night in the open for fear of aftershocks. Later they were moved to another hotel.
Early morning external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj told Indian officials that the girls should be evacuated on priority. “We just did that. They were brought on priority to Kathmandu and put on plane”, said an Indian embassy official in Kathmandu.
He said praised the hotel staff, where the team stayed and Nepal Football federation authorities, for extending full cooperation. The team would be in Delhi later in the day.