by Cl Chris Ferreira
CHHOTAUDEPUR, SEP 3, 2016: Two Baroda-based teams, namely Baroda Girls Hockey Academy and Baroda City, locked horns in the Final of the Under-17 Jawaharlal Hockey Tournament for Girls, with the former emerging victorious in a tightly contested final on April 29. Twenty eight, Gujarat-based, teams competed in the tourney that was run in collaboration with Don Bosco School and College, Chhotaudepur over two days.
Rain played spoilt sport on the first day and delayed the start of a few matches due to slushy ground conditions. However, Brother Ramesh and his team worked hard to ensure the ground was back in playable condition.
By the end of the day, ten teams qualified to fight it out for day two of the competition.
Matches between Dahod, Mehsana districts and Ahmedabad, Valsad districts were well contested. Baroda Academy, Baroda City, Mehsana district and Chhotaudepur district were the teams that made the Semis.
Incidentally, two of them, Mehsana and Chhotaudepur were of the tribal belt and a symbol of the rise of sport talent at grass root level.
The local, Chhotaudepur team, put up a spirited performance against Baroda City, but lost 5-4 via penalties.
Chhotaudepur's central defender, Renukaben Rathwa, who picked up the stick a year ago sobbed inconsolably after the loss. "Why had we to come so close and lose it all so quickly?" Rathwa said.
Baroda Academy beat Mehsana District, 3-2 to qualify for the final, where they met Baroda City. The final was a spectacular display of well-planned hockey; and Baroda Girls Hockey Academy lifted the title after winning the clash, 2-0. The team from Mehsana finished in third place.
"We are always fortunate to have such dedicated collaboration from the Salesians here at Don Bosco. They never turn down an offer intended for the goodwill and sportsmanship of youngsters," Ramsingbhai Rathwa, MP of Chhotaudepur said.
Rathwa added, "On this very land, we shall raise a mighty sports complex to let the rural sporting spirit among these youngsters bloom."