Khammam: Overcoming many obstacles, three Adivasi youngsters from remote agency villages in the district are excelling in a new game, Targetball, which has been gaining popularity in recent times.
The youngsters, Irpa Anitha of Bodanalli, Sodi Sai Vinay of Pusuguppa and Irpa Sangamithra of Koyyuru of Cherla mandal, made it to the Indian team to play in an International Targetball Tournament to be organised in February, 2022 in Dhaka in Bangladesh by South Asian Targetball Association.
Anitha will be part of the women’s team while Vinay and Sangamithra will be part of a 12-member men’s contingent, coach A Eswar, a physical director at Unjupalle Ashram School in Cherla, told Telangana Today.
“Targetball is an Indian sport that has been officially played since 2012. The game has been recognised by the School Games Federation of India (SGFI), which conducted many national events” he said.
Playing the game since 2015, the youngsters excelled in the district, State and national level events and won medals. Anitha, a defender, played in nine national events, Sangamithra, a defender, played in six and Vinay, a diamond player (goalkeeper) played in eight nationals.
Last year they got selected for an international tournament in Sri Lanka. But the event was cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis. The tournament in Bangladesh is the first international event for the three players and hopefully, they will excel in the event, the coach noted.
Eswar said that the Cherla players are among the top six targetball players in the country. Though played internationally the game is still largely unknown and it needs to be promoted among youngsters in India, he felt.
He further said that a sports coach, Irpa Ravi introduced the game in the district in 2015. The Targetball Associations at district and State levels are making efforts to promote the game by organising tournaments at regular intervals.
Seeking support from donors
Though they excelled in the game, the players are facing financial difficulties to attend the Bangladesh tournament and looking for sponsors and donors to meet their expenses. They are now working as labourers in their free time to make some money.
“I need support from philanthropists as I am from a poor financial background and our parents cannot afford huge amounts on my travel to Bangladesh” Anitha, working as farm labour in paddy fields in her free time, said.
Vinay and Sangamithra are working as construction workers to make money to go to the tournament. According to Eswar an amount of Rs 50, 000 is required for each player to take part in the event and getting such an amount ready for the Adivasi players, is really tough.
Telangana Tagetball Association general secretary D Revanth also appealed to kind-hearted donors to sponsor the players financially and help them earn names for the country and the State.