In a first, Kolkata's Ramleela Maidan witnessed a unique football match on May 6 that caught people's attention. The city saw its first-ever mixed-gender football match as a run-up to the 11th All India DYFI conference.
People were amazed to see a woman going for a sliding tackle to snatch the ball away from the opponent's male forward, while a male goalkeeper was seen diving to save a shot taken by his female opponent.
The match was held between the Student's Federation of India (SFI) and the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), two active youth organisations in Kolkata. While both teams consisted of an equal number of male and female players, another unique component of the match was the referee, Suprava Roy, who belonged to the transgender community.
Other Sports Personalities
The match witnessed the presence of the former captain of the Indian women's football team Kuntala Ghosh Dastidar, the country's first Arjuna award-winning woman footballer Shanti Mullick and one of the leaders of the Gender Equality movement Saira Shah Halim.
"I want to thank DYFI for organising such a great event from the core of my heart. The biggest motivator in my life has been sports for all. It doesn't matter who wins or loses, it was important to set an example," footballer Kuntala Ghoshdastidar said, as quoted by The Bridge.
"I wish to witness a change in the system. We could see more such initiatives in future. I will always be beside them," Ghoshdastidar added.
The DYFI, ahead of its All-India conference, is hosting a series of sporting events across West Bengal to inspire the young generation to take up some physical games to keep themselves fit. On May 7, they hosted a short marathon in the city.