Ranchi girls made India proud

Beating all odds, a bunch of 18 under-14 tribal girls from Ranchi district of Jharkhand went to Spain for two football tournaments – the Donosti Cup and the Gasteiz Cup. They haven’t ever heard of Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas or Fernando Torres but these girls with dreams in their eyes have made their country proud.

The man behind the team is Franz Gastler, an American who came to India more than five years ago, who is running an NGO, YUWA, in Jharkhand for the last four years. Team Yuwa, as the team was known, was the only representation from India in the Donosti Cup that was participated by 30 countries. The team was sponsored by Gamesa Wind Turbines Pvt. Ltd.

Rinki Kumari, 13, was the captain of the team. She started playing football when she was just eight, an age when most girls in the village would play hopscotch. The trip to the land of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid didn’t come easy for the girls. They had to dribble past taunts, criticism and even abuse.

Most of the girls are from very poor families and they don’t have televisions at home. So, the only time they have seen Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in action is when “Sir” Gastler showed them match clippings.

As a billion plus India slept, a few days ago in this month, a handful of tribal girls proudly held aloft a football trophy they won in far-flung Spain. But no one cared in India.  Oindrilla Roy said that All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel was not aware of the girls’ superlative achievement, nor was the country’s new sports minister Jitendra Singh.

Yuwa Supergoats at the inauguration of Donosti Cup in San Sebastian, Spain

The Yuwa team was called the Supergoats by the organizers the moment they saw the girls playing barefoot in practice matches on arrival in Spain. Why? The girls had limited football gear and could not take the risk of tampering it before the tournament. They were overawed by international teams in the first tournament, the Donosti Cup in San Sebastian, which is Spain’s biggest football tournament with over 400 teams participating from across the globe. The girls could not cross the group phase.

But they came to their own in the second tournament at Gasteiz Cup, an International Youth Soccer tournament. The Yuwa girls were placed 3rd out of ten teams with two wins, two losses and a draw.

As soon as the announcement was made for the prize distribution ceremony, the girls rushed into their dressing room and returned, some barefoot, wearing red-bordered white saris, their traditional festive dress. Many had their plastic flowers in their hairs. And when they huddled together after the mandatory photo session, some wept inconsolably because they had almost given up their hopes to participate in this tournament.

Bronze girls at Gasteiz Cup

For the girls, it was indeed a giant leap into world soccer from their impoverished village in Ormanjhi block near the Ranchi city. Now, AIFF and SAI must see that they get proper training and encouragement to bring laurels for the country, in future. Yes indeed, they made us proud.

May Mary Kom win the Gold!

MC Mary Kom, the Queen of Ring, known as Magnificent Mary is assured of an Olympic medal in London. She will play her Semi-final bout tomorrow.

As people call her Magnificent Mary, she is truly magnificent woman from a corner state of Manipur located in the North-East of India. She is five times World Women Boxing Champion and she is the only woman to win a medal in all the six World Women Boxing Championships. Remarkable, isn’t it? And, yes she is a mother of two kids!

She is the glory of Manipur, North-East India and of course, she is our national glory. She has made every Indian proud with her determination, and consistent performance despite all odds.

London Olympics has for the first time created so much of interests in Athletics and other sports in Cricket crazy India. Yes, for the first time India’s victory over Sri Lanka in Cricket has been outshone by Saina, Mary, Vijay, Gagan, and others. This is a good change, indeed.

I join with billions of her fans and my fellow countrymen in praying for Mary Kom to win the coveted Gold medal for India, for Manipur and for herself in this Olympics. She definitely deserves the Gold. Go for Gold, Mary! We are with you. I also wish for a medal for Devendro, another boxer from Manipur, who will also play tomorrow in the quarter-final round.

Jai Hind!

An Indian woman, mother of 2, scales Mount Everest twice in 10 days!

A woman from Arunachal Pradesh, India created history by climbing Mount Everest twice in 10 days and also became the first woman mountaineer in the world to achieve the feat twice in the same season. Incredible!

Anshu Jamsenpa, a 32-year-old mother of two children, unfurled the tricolour and an Arunachal logo at the summit of the 29,035 feet peak on Saturday at 5.05 am local time, official sources said. She had earlier been on the top of the world on May 12.

Indian schoolboy rewrites history on the Himalayas

Arjun Vajpai, a 17-year-old student of Ryan International School from Noida, a New Delhi suburb became a climbing sensation last year by becoming the youngest Indian to conquer Mt Everest, created a new record Friday, 20th May 2011 by becoming the youngest in the world to ascent Mt Lhotse, the fourth highest peak. After an aborted attempt last week due to bad weather he finally stood on the 8,516 m summit at 8.15 a.m., reported Asian Trekking, the Kathmandu-based mountaineering agency.

Mt Lhotse, the fourth highest peak in the world after Mt Everest, K2 and Kangchenjunga, had never been climbed solo by any Indian. Arjun also becomes the youngest climber in the world to conquer the technically difficult Mt. Lhotse. Mt Everest is 332m higher than Lhotse.

Super Sherpa scales Everest for record 21st time

Apa Sherpa, who is also known as Super Sherpa for his mountaineering feats, bettered his own world record on May 11, 2011 by reaching the top of Mount Everest for the record 21st time. He is 51 years old. Incredible! He was leading Eco Everest Expedition 2011, aimed at cleaning the mountain of garbage, set foot on the peak at 9:15am along with five other climbers on Wednesday. Super Sherpa set his foot on top of Mt. Everest for the first time in May 1990.

He has been leading the annual Eco Everest Expedition since 2008 with the message to ‘Stop Climate Change’. Over the years the expedition has collected 13,500 kg of garbage left behind by previous teams, recovered debris of an Italian Army helicopter that crashed in 1973 and four dead bodies.

Kudos to Super Sherpa!

Congrats! India lifts the World Cup for the second time.

India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets in a pulsating final to earn World Cup glory for the first time since 1983. India becomes the third country to lift the world Cup more than once along with Australia and West Indies.

Sri Lanka smashed 91 from their last 10 overs to post 274-6 in Mumbai, with Mahela Jayawardene making a superb 103. India lost Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar early on but Gautam Gambhir and Mahendra Singh Dhoni rebuilt the innings. Gambhir was out for 97, but captain Dhoni finished with 91 not out as India, chasing a target of 275, won by six wickets with 10 balls to spare at the Wankhede Stadium to become the first host country to win the World Cup. It was a great captain’s knock from Dhoni and he finished the match by hitting a sixer!

Yuvraj Singh has been selected as the Player of the Tournament, while MS Dhoni has won Man of the Match. MS Dhoni played a Captain’s knock just when all of India needed one from him. India’s arguably most successful Captain ever has brought in another prize.

Also, congratulations to Sri Lanka for a fantastic run in the final and a great fight put up by them.

Three cheers for India! Jai Hind!