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World Cup 2018: 10-year-old boy creates history by becoming the first match ball carrier from India

1.94K   //    20 Jun 2018, 13:28 IST

Rishi Tej and Nathania John with Sunil Chhetri (Image Credits - IANS)
Rishi Tej and Nathania John with Sunil Chhetri (Image Credits - IANS)

What’s the story?

Two young Indian kids, namely Rishi Tej and Nathania John got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become official Match Ball Carriers (OMBC) for the FIFA World Cup in Russia. 

In case you didn’t know…

The World Cup is a very special occasion, and even those - for whom football is an alien sport - try and involve themselves in the game during this time. Fan following for other countries has been phenomenal in India, and it can be credited to the massive viewership of the English Premier League and La Liga. 

No wonder the World Cup is known as the greatest show on earth - as it captivates the attention of everyone across the globe. 

Two Indian are present in Russia and have gotten this opportunity thanks to Official Match Ball Carrier (OMBC) program of Kia Motors, which is also the automotive partner of FIFA.

The trials for selecting the same were conducted in Gurgaon some time back and Sunil Chhetri had the difficult task of shortlisting the kids. 50 children were shortlisted out of an initial 1600 and finally, Chhetri decided to give these two the opportunity - in what would certainly have been a very difficult choice. 

The heart of the matter

The 10-year-old Rishi, who hails from Bangalore fulfilled his dream and was the OMBC for Belgium vs Panama match which was held on June 18. Meanwhile, Nathania will get the opportunity to come out as the OMBC during Brazil vs Costa Rica match, that is scheduled to take place on June 22. Nathania defied all odds by competing with 50 boys and proved with her footballing prowess that talent is what comes first. 

64 schools children from various countries are given this lucky chance to not only watch a World Cup match but also stand alongside the World's greatest footballers on the same field. 

Rishi in the centre with the matchball during the Belgium vs Panama match.
Rishi in the
with the match ball during Belgium vs Panama match.

What's next?

For the kids, it must be a dream come true to see their stars live in action. It will certainly be a life-changing experience for them and it heartening to see that the two have got this opportunity. 

It is nice to see such initiatives springing up in the country, thanks to which we will get to see some Indian blood at the football pitches in Russia.

What do you feel about this initiative? Do let us know in the comments section below.

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