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Women are built different, strong and special, say footballers on International Women's Day

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New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) Last year, Indian sports had witnessed some of the greatest moments in the sporting fields which involved a lot of women athletes achieving greater heights. On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2022, the Indian Women’s football players spoke about women’s empowerment in-depth and stressed on why it is necessary for today’s generation.

They believe that sports is one of the most powerful platforms for promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls.

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Indian Women’s football captain Ashalata Devi said, “We are no less than any men and from the bottom of my heart I would like to say that we are multi-talented. So anyone looks down upon you or says wrong, you just have to work hard. They can give you a good or bad opinion but you need to focus on your dream by putting in a lot of handwork and dedication and keep on moving forward.

“We, the women, are built differently, but we can very much achieve what men can, and maybe more. To move forward, we need to be one and respect each other.”

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Goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan described how women in India go through several societal barriers, which make them tougher.

“Women in India have gone through so much trying to achieve something or excel at something. They face society with all kinds of challenges, on different fronts. Not just from society, but even within their sport as well and within their families which really makes them so strong mentally as well as physically,” Chauhan said during the panel discussion.

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“I think mental toughness is something that we as Indian women are strong at and that is one of the reasons why I say that especially for India women if they really set their target, they don’t mind facing anything because we’ve been through everything, faced everything, and come out on the other side to excel, so there is nothing we can’t get through,” she said.

Bala Devi, the first Indian Woman footballer to sign a professional contract with a European club, when she was signed by Rangers Women FC in 2020, also believes that the younger generation should focus more on themselves rather than concentrating on people’s opinions.

“My family supported me throughout but pressure from society was always there. They used to ask, “why are girls playing? What is the benefit of that?”

“My parents and I had to hear this a lot but we never answered back. When I went to play in the U-19 National Championship in 2002, Manipur became the champions and I received the best scorer award, and that is when people stopped asking questions and started supporting me,” she said.

–IANS

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