Football tournament for children organised to celebrate World Children’s Day

Bhubaneswar : To celebrate World Children’s Day on Sunday, UNICEF in
partnership with Odisha Government’s Department of Sports and Youth Services along with
Odisha FC and Prosocio Sports and Games Federation organised a football tournament for
children from underprivileged communities in Bhubaneswar.
Around 115 children between 10 to 15 years living in slums participated in the tournament in
a unique event to pledge support to every child and encourage girls and boys to play sports
for their overall development and well being.
World Children’s Day is celebrated annually on November 20 to commemorate the
Declaration of the Rights of the Child adopted by the UN General Assembly in the year 1959.
In India, Child rights week is celebrated from November 14th to 20th: beginning with
Children’s Day to mark former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s birth anniversary and
ending on World Children’s Day. UNICEF works to ensure that all children score goals in life,
helping them to overcome challenges. The focus of World Children’s Day this year is on sports
as a powerful means to promote inclusion, equality, and non-discrimination.
Speaking at the inaugural function, Shri Lalitendu Bidyadhar Mohapatra, MLA, Brahmagiri
recalled his cricketing day. “I used to play cricket at district level. Even though my parents
were educationist, they encouraged me to play cricket. I have come here as a sportsman not
MLA. This is a wonderful initiative. Sports helps children develop important life skills such as
leadership, discipline, teamwork, tolerance, hard work and cooperation.”
Among others, Shri Prateek Singh, IPS, Deputy Commissioner of Police and Shri Saswat Joshi,
Social Media Influencer and Acclaimed Odissi Dancer were present on the occasion and
interacted with kids. Shri Prateek Singh spoke about promoting sports among children. “Every
child deserves to feel celebrated and has the right to be included and protected. They are
nation’s future, we should give them every opportunity to shine, any field of their choice.”
With the football fever gripping the world, the children along with Shri Saswat Joshi danced
on the field in celebration.
Earlier in the morning, few children met Shri Tusharkanti Behera, Hon’ble Minister of State
(Ind.Charge), E & IT, Sports and youth services). Shri Behera said, “The Odisha Government is
committed to build world-class sporting facilities and sports ecosystem to help athletes bring
glory for the nation. One of the main objectives is to tap talent in the rural belts and facilitate
greater access to sports at the panchayat and local level.”
During the day there was a meet and greet session with players of Odisha FC Men and Women
team. Shubham Sarangi, Michael Soosairaj from men’s team and Banya, Kartika from
women’s team played football with the kids. Children were thrilled to meet them and at the
same time got inspired by them.
Later in the evening Shri Pritiranjan Gharai, Hon’ble Minister of State, Skill Development &
Technical Education graced the closing ceremony as the Chief Guest and said “Government
is creating opportunity and best infrastructure to develop sports in the state. This kind of
event will encourage the children”.
Among others, Ms Sradhanjali Samantaray, Former Indian International Footballer, and Dr
Sourya Ranjan Parija, Secretary, Bhubaneswar Athletic Association were present on the
Speaking at the closing ceremony, Ms Sradhanjali Samantaray said, “Sports does not
discriminate. It brings communities together. We should allow children to have fun so that
they can fall in love with sports and bring laurel to the country.”

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