Amid loud applause, sprint queen Olympian P T Usha kicked off Goal-2014, the third edition of the All Kerala Inter-college Football Tournament being organised by The New Indian Express, at District Sports Council Stadium here on Sunday.
Sport enthusiasts in Koyilandi accorded a warm reception to ‘Goal’, which arrived for the first time to Malabar. Usha hailed the Express initiative to boost college-level football teams.
Sharing her sentimental attachment with the ground, where the trainees of Usha School of Athletics trained during its initial days, she said:
“We trained in this small ground which has only a 200-metre track and achieved ninth place in the world junior athletic championships.”
TNIE Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla presented a memento to Usha on the occasion.
The most celebrated moment at Goal 2014 was when she took a penalty kick with former international goalkeeper Victor Manjila, guarding the goal post, successfully defending it.
K Dasan MLA hoisted the flag of the north zone leg of the tournament in which 12 teams, including defending champions Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur, are taking part.
State BJP president V Muraleedharan said: “India is currently trying for the under 17 world cup.
“Goal’ is an event that has paved the way for upcoming players, who defeated even Kerala’s Santhosh trophy team.
“I wish the players who take part in this tournament get the opportunity to play in the World Cup as well.”
“The ‘Goal’ is taking place at a time when football matches are not held even for the sake of holding them. I hope this platform helps in the growth of young sports talents,” Manjila said
TNIE Resident Editor (Kerala) Vinod Mathew and AGM P Suresh also spoke at the inauguration of the football prmotion initiative of Express.
In the inaugural match, Farook College, Kozhikode, edged WMO College, Muttil, Wayanad, 2-0.