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U-17 FIFA Women's World Cup legacy will allow girls to play more, says India's Chauhan


New Delhi: Indian national team goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan has emphasised on the “roles played by parents to expose the girl child to different situations, and allow them to play.”

In a live chat with AIFF TV, Chauhan one of the flag bearers of women’s football in India, urged all parents to understand and drive the passion of the girl child, and kids in general.

“I have heard a lot of stories. The girl child is very passionate to play but in many cases, the parents are not supporting them. That hurts me,” she stated. “When I started I never felt that I would be going on to represent my country.”

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“In India, the girls are not always allowed to make our own choices. But we need to overcome this social stigma and taboo and parents need to have more knowledge,” Chauhan said.

“Let the girl go out and enjoy herself. As a society in terms of bringing awareness, telling about the advantages of a girl playing the sport are the major factors which we need to stress upon. Encourage girls to get into sports.

" If the kids want to play football - it's the icing on the cake. Football brings out the best of the girl, it nurtures the competitive spirit within the girl."

Chauhan said the forthcoming FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017 will have a “huge impact on breaking social taboos and generating the awareness among women’s football, and parents in general.

“I think the World Cup is a great opportunity. More people will get to support women's football, and that will help many girls to play - both in terms of developing women's football and generating awareness around women's football. The World Cup will address many social aspects and leave a legacy on Indian society."

“But I feel the situation has improved a lot. But a lot still needs to be done. It is understandable parents will take time to understand and develop the mentality. With the Indian Women’s League, women’s football in India is taking shape. The girl can look up to the league.

"But I feel we should not just contemplate about the future and hold our girls back from venturing out new avenues. More clubs, corporate bodies have come forward to show interest in women's football and that has more impact on society."

She divulged that support from her parents helped her blossom in football. She followed the footprints of her elder brother to explore different sports during her childhood and that aided her to improve her personality in future.

"Had my parents not supported early, I could not have achieved whatever I could have. Exploring different sports helped me grow my personality. I don't hold back from expressing myself. We should make our own choices about whatever we want to do.”

Source: All India Football Federation

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