Rohtak, Haryana: Former international hockey player Ajit Pal Nandlal, who retired from hockey series in 2013, has decided to sponsor education and sports training of 22 girl students from his native village in Haryana.
The girls study at Government Senior Secondary School in Bohar village in Rohtak, 65 kms from Delhi, and belong to families with extremely lower incomes.
“What is the point if Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao remains only a slogan? Today I am in a position to support these girls,” said Mr Nandlal who has been among the top 25 players in the Indian hockey team and has played a number of international tournaments between 2000-07. He also owns a state-of-the-art stud farm in Bohar and a fitness centre in Rohtak.
The girls have been selected from Classes 6-12. Of the 22 girls who will be supported by him, 16 are athletes and the rest are academically inclined. Among these young athletes, 10 have participated in national and state level participants in handball, kho kho and yoga.
“Each of them has special abilities but fall short when it comes to the economic and social support. They are married off right after they finish school. I want to change that,” Mr Nandal said.
Sunita Nandlal, principal of the school, has identified the girls on the basis of their current financial situation and need. She told NDTV, “I got married when I was very young and had to struggle a lot. I tell all my girl students to work after their education and not stay at home.”
She said that the identified 22 girls have been assured complete financial assistance and have additionally been granted Rs 31,000 by Mr Nandlal.
“We will use this sum to buy a generator so that our girls don’t have to study without electricity,” she said.
The girls have also been given free access to his sporting academy for training. Other girl students who are willing to learn a sport are welcome to join them free of cost, he said.
Mr Nandal said he got the inspiration from former Indian cricket captain Gautam Gambhir who had sponsored education of children of CRPF men killed by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district.
“There are so many sportspersons like me whose support can change lives of these girls. I want to also motivate them to become more altruistic,” he said.