Home EXCLUSIVES “We are thrilled to see Women In Sport growing…,” Sanaya Mehta

“We are thrilled to see Women In Sport growing…,” Sanaya Mehta

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Sanaya Mehta, the founder of Women in Sport, shares the vision and mission of her organisation in a chat with Sportsavour.

How did you start Women in Sport?

Sanaya Mehta: So it started around five years back, if I’m not mistaken. There are two reasons behind this idea.

I’ve been in sport my entire life. I’ve played basketball at Red Road and the WBBA ground. My mom played before me and my daughter plays now. I realised and noticed that whatever training my mom did- the warm up, the game, the game strategy and the cool down- I did the same thing and so is my daughter doing now. The sport has evolved in the country and in the world tremendously, but in our little corner of the world, nothing has changed.

The second reason behind this idea was when I started playing Rugby. In one of the tournaments, our opponents were girls from the Adivasi villages. I always considered myself a super athlete, and I was very happy with myself. But when I played against those girls and the way they were moving- it was a reality check for me. Their shoes had rubber bands on them. The boots were torn, clothes were torn, reused. In spite of that, they were super fast. I felt that those girls do not belong to the local maidan, but needed to be on the international stage. And people like me who have the means to communicate, who can talk, who can approach people and raise funds, should support them.

So the idea of Women in Sport is to try to give our girls a level- playing field so that internationally when they go and compete, they can get a podium finish, which they truly deserve.

How does Women in Sport operate?

Sanaya Mehta: Women in Sports is a collection of women and one man, who like me, are interested in sport. We put our hands up and said that we’re here to help in whatever way we can. We  arrange camps and trials for women football players. Through these trials they can secure international club contracts. Anybody who has a time and interest in sport and wants to contribute is welcome to come and help us.

So is Women in Sport acting as a bridge between the players and other stakeholders?

Sanaya Mehta: Exactly not so. Not every stakeholder, but people who are interested in helping the girls. So we literally are begging, pleading, forcing, so that the girls are able to reach their full potential.

You are concentrating on football only or some other sports too?

Sanaya Mehta: We’ve done a camp in Basketball in Kolkata. We brought down the coach from the UK. He trained the coaches, and also trained the children from the Bengal State team. But basically we concentrate on Football because we sense that the girls are ready. They have been trained and are at a good level. Unfortunately, there is one National League for football. I guess, they play competitive Football for a couple of months in the year, and that’s finished.

As most of these girls come from villages, they should be given access to gym, they should get proper nutrition in the off season.

So we said, we should give them chance to utilise the off season. We bring coaches from abroad. They watch the girls play and if they are good enough, and the coaches feel that they can go abroad to play internationally with the teams, they recommend the names.

With this kind of arrangement, two things happen. These girls play at the highest level for seven or eight months in the year, and get paid. And the second thing is, if these girls improve their standard and come back, the whole team will learn from them.

If you can give a brief about this year’s Elite Women’s Trial?

Sanaya Mehta: This is our 3rd edition of Elite Women’s Trial. We invited Australian coach, Andrew Galbraith from Sydney. The first trial happened from June 1-9 which focussed on performance assessments, strength and conditioning training, sports physiotherapy, yoga, recovery services and performance nutrition.

From June 10-15, the second part of the trials held. It focussed on scouting camps and match day.

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PoulomiKundu started her career in 2000 as a freelance journalist in Hindustan Times. Soon after she was selected an intern in Zee News, Kolkata. After her post- graduation in English, Poulomi joined the leading television production house of eastern India, Rainbow Productions. She was a journalist in Khas Khobor, a Bengali news magazine programme in Doordarshan and also headed the post production department of another programme, Khas Kolkata. In 2004, Poulomi moved to Delhi as a creative writer in an advertising agency, Brand Stewards Pvt. Ltd. In 2005, she again shifted her base for a better opportunity and that in Mumbai. There she got the job in Raa Media Pvt Ltd. as an associate director of two programmes for Doordarshan-Yuva and Paisa Vasool. In the meantime, she also wrote features in DNA as a freelancer. Poulomi directs promotional videos, develops scripts for films for Corporate and NGOs. But an ardent sports lover, Poulomi always had an urge to contribute somewhere in the field of sports. Her love for sports started from an early age when she played gully cricket and football for local teams. Academics and professional hazards sometimes took her away from her passion, but it never died in her. She always nurtured the never-ending dream. So she materialized her dream in the form of ‘SPORTSAVOUR’. It is an online sports portal that serves sports with the tagline ‘For the indigenous, unconventional, unknown’.

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