NEW DELHI: Making women self-dependent and working for their empowerment is her life’s motto. Heading towards her dream, city-based physical education teacher Neelam Sahu has been imparting Kabaddi training to girls between the age group of 11 and 22.
Sahu, who is a teacher at Raj Nagar Part-2 Government School, has rented a four-room accommodation nearby school, where she lives with these girls and trains them. For a meagre fee of `1,000, she provides them boarding and lodging.
“After classes, girls practice in the school ground with me from 4pm to 7pm daily. Sometimes, I take them to Palam Sports Complex. There is a lot of talent that still needs to be tapped,” Sahu said.
It was one incident that happened 21 years ago which motivated her to start this initiative. In 1995, Sahu, 40, represented the Delhi Kabaddi team in the Under-14 School National Championship held in Amravati, Maharashtra.
“My team won gold medal in the tournament. I was so happy that I decided to train girls in Kabaddi to bring forward the hidden talent in them,” said Sahu. “Most of these girls are from Dwarka and Palam Raj Nagar areas in Delhi, and rest belong to Haryana and Ghaziabad.
A Hindi (hons) student in Delhi University, Nisha Sherawat, who is gearing up for Junior National Kabaddi championship to be held in Gurgaon in December, said, “I used to see her training girls, since I was in Class VI. Gradually, I developed interest in sports and joined her classes five years ago.”
Of the 28 girls—who are being trained by Sahu—two took part in the Junior Asian Championship held in Iran in April.
The 19-year-old Gayatri, who won a silver medal in the championship, said, “Didi is the best, she trains very well and gives equal opportunities. We do not have money to pay the fee in big academies. She is our only hope to help achieve our goals.”
Her aim is to create fine Kabaddi players. “These girls are my biggest inspiration. I got continuous support from my family and Delhi Kabaddi Association,” she said.
Sahu, who is against sports quota, said, “The quota allows taking only two kids from one club or school in any national meet. The government should give chances to capable players instead of fixing a quota.”