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A move to promote Australian football
The Australian Consulate-General on Saturday announced a partnership with the Australian Rules Football Association of India (ARFAI) here.
The partnership aims at popularising Australian football in south India, especially Tamil Nadu. According to ARFAI representative Sudhashil Mitra, around 2000 kids from the State are already actively involved in the sport. A lot of credit will have to go to Tamil Nadu Kangaroos Football Club member KP Shantha Kumar, who along with his mates, has been tapping talents in various districts.
“We are part of the Patechi Trust, a Non-Profit Organisation. One of our members met ARFAI President Sudip in 2013. Only after that, we started introducing the sport to the children. As of now, we are doing it only in four districts - Madurai, Virudhunagar, Sivagangai and Theni – as we are based around that area,” said Shantha.
“We approached the Principals of Government Schools and gave them an idea about this game. Most of the kids that train with us are between the age group of nine and 14. Since this is something new, they show a lot of interest,” added the soft-spoken Shantha.
The Trust in the past has sponsored junior teams for tournaments in Kozhikode, Goa and Kolkata. Courtesy the untiring work put in by these men, Sudhashil firmly believes a lot more players from Tamil Nadu will represent India in the future.
“TN has a lot of youngsters right now. When they grow up, I am sure they are going to be much better than their predecessors. They have started playing at a tender age and are trained right from the grassroots level, which we couldn’t do. In the International Cup 2023, India will have many athletes from the State and they will do great,” remarked Sudhashil.
South zone tourney
The first-ever south zone Australian Football tournament will take place at the St Mary’s Group of Institutions in Guntur (Andhra Pradesh) on November 26. Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Telangana and Kerala will be a part of the competition.
Tigers is the champ
Richmond Tigers defeated GWS Giants 114-25 in the AFL Grand Final to win its 12th flag, its second in three years. The Australian Consulate-General and ARFAI tied up during a special screening of the summit clash in the city.