Kicking Gender Boundaries: A one of a kind event to promote inclusion in sports

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Jaipur, November 30: In an often-divided world, sport works as glue. Understanding its unique power is the Keshav Suri Foundation and Scout Me, an app promoted by two young boys to aid sports training facilities.

In a never before move, the Keshav Suri Foundation (KSF) in association with Scout me and the Rajasthan Football Association is organising India’s first ever, all-gender inclusive football match, ‘Kicking Gender Boundaries’. The historic tie will be played at the Jayshree Periwal International School on November 30, 2019 between 11:00am – 12:00noon in Jaipur. After thorough scouting across the country, KSF has assembled a team of 10 trans players to feature in the match.This exhibition match was conceived to encourage the participation of trans individuals in the sports arena. As trans players meet with school students to battle it out on the field, the hope is to see them represent the country one day.

Mr Manvendra Singh, President of Rajasthan Football Association is enthusiastic about this endeavour says, “Diversity is the source of all the colours that make life more beautiful, enjoyable and enriching. This is the essence of football as well and as responsible football administrators, guided by the vision enunciated by FIFA, we at RFA encourage everyone to enjoy the beautiful game.”

Ayush Periwal, of Jayshree Periwal International School is proud to be hosting and participating in the historic match. He says, The youth are the changemakers of the future and when I see students like Arjun Pandey and initiatives like ScoutMe, and Keshav Suri Foundation, I know that the world will be a more tolerant and inclusive place. We encourage our students to actively create the change they want.”

Arjun Pandey from Scout Me says, “As a passionate footballer I want everyone to have a safe space to enjoy and experience the magic of sport. I want this event to be a stepping stone towards uniform inclusion of everyone in not only sports but in all spheres of everyday life.”

Founder of the Keshav Suri Foundation, Mr Suri understands the role sports can play to mobilise communities. “A Virat Kohli has been able to influence people’s eating habits and fashion choices. A country obsessed with cricket, thronged football stadiums, when Kohli and Sunil Chhetri made an appeal on social media. Sports icons have the power to change perceptions. It took a lot of courage for an athlete like Dutee Chand to come out and reveal her identity. This football match is an attempt to get the trans community an even playing field, and hopefully one day produce stars that can play the role of such icons,” he said.

Amidst heightened political tensions and adverse society powerplays, sports have always worked as a great unifier. ‘Kicking Gender Boundaries’ hopes to avoid the off-side trap and score a goal for the trans community for equality and acceptance.

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Edited by Sai Teja
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