New Delhi, Jun 10 (IANS): With the aim to support and promote the development of young and talented female cricketers, former Indian women's team captain Anjum Chopra has introduced a scholarship in her name, in partnership with PUSH Sports, giving financial support and training opportunities to promising athletes.
With the Anjum Chopra Scholarship, talented young girls with a passion for cricket, will have the opportunity to receive comprehensive support and guidance to nurture their skills and will get exposure through domestic and international tours.
The scholarship aims to identify and select promising female cricketers from across India and offer them financial assistance of INR 1 lac per annum (INR 10, 000 per month for a period of one year).
The selected athletes will have the opportunity to train with top coaches at Push Sports Arenas in India for a 12-month period, as well as receive mentorship from Puru Singh, ex-Delhi cricketer and former coach of Delhi Women's U-23 team.
Elaborating more on the significant move, Anjum told IANS, "The first and foremost idea was that let's announce it. We announced it for the reason that we wanted applications. We will take care of all the training and facilities. So, the person who's getting the scholarship doesn't have to pay a penny for utilising the facilities.
We received more than 150 applications across different parts of the country. So, we got them down to 10 girls. In February or early March, we conducted trials in Gurgaon and we realised that we can start with four."
Ishika Kumari from Burari, Delhi, Shraddha HS Motiparas from Porbandar, Gujarat, Gaurika Yadav from Mahendragarh, Haryana and Shubhi Sharma, hailing from Bareilly have been given the Anjum Chopra scholarship.
"We identified four girls from the trials and started their scholarship this financial year. Those who are nearby or Delhi they are practicing daily. But, those who are from outside of Delhi. They used to report here for 10-15 days in a month.
When they are not in Delhi, then their training is being monitored because they are not that skillful to get their training by themselves and they are not that beginner where they have no idea," the former India cricketer said.
The idea was to give 10 scholarships in a year but based on their skill four girls were selected.
"We will conduct trials again to select the remaining six girls. Our idea was to give 10 scholarships but we don't think that we want to give it to all 10 for now, not because of the money but because of skill level, they were too beginners.
It's not about giving money it is about giving a facility to become a better player though. Two of our girls are already playing at state level and the other two are in the probable list. So, at least they are in that system of playing this sport," Anjum said.
She further added that the scholarship will be renewed after the year based on performance and progress.
"We will renew it, we will map their performance and see what is their progress. But, we will not end this scholarship," she said.
Puru Singh, the CEO of Push Sports and a former Delhi player said: "There is a lot of talk about women empowerment in our country, but there seems to be a significant gap between the talk and the actual progress made. Now, only the Women's Premier League (WPL) remains the primary platform for women's cricketers where they can get money.
"So, the big game is to offer a chance for girls to showcase her skills and compete at the highest level. Hopefully, in the next three one of them will play in the WPL."
Push Sports, is a sports education company dedicated to promoting fitness and sustainability through sports-led interventions. It has an exclusive focus on the growth of women and girls' cricket across the country.