KOCHI: After almost 24 hours of nerve-wracking anxiety, Roy Ovelil heaved a sign of relief at his Kozhikode house on Sunday evening, when he came to know that his 14-year-old daughter was safe in Delhi.
His daughter, Aparna Roy, was one among the 18 players of the under-14 Indian girls’ football team who were flown into Delhi from earthquake-hit Nepal on Sunday.
“I got my breath back after I got that message from the AIFF (All India Football Federation),” Roy, a lower primary schoolteacher in Punnackal said.
He said ever since news broke of the earthquake in Nepal, he had been trying to call Aparna but was unable to reach her. “Her phone was switched off throughout Saturday. Whoever I knew was close to her was also unavailable on the phone. Several hours later, I got a message that she was safe but still stuck in Nepal,” he said. Aparna finally called him on Sunday evening at around 6.30 pm after she landed in Delhi along with the rest of her teammates and five officials. According to team manager Indu Chaudhary, they were immediately taken to a hotel as they were “shattered and not in a state to travel further.” “I have never experienced anything like this before in my life,” said Maymol Rocky, the head coach of the team, after she landed in Delhi.
“We were in the stadium (in Kathmandu) for practise ahead of the third play off against Iran on Saturday. At around 5.30, the ground started shaking and it looked like the stadium was going to collapse into the ground.”
“As soon as I regrouped the girls, the place started rocking again. It shook two or three times further. Luckily, nobody was hurt,” she said. Maymol, who was born in Kerala but based in Goa, recounted that when she she took the team back to the hotel they were staying an hour later, it was almost to on the ground.