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QCA women’s tournament from Mar 22

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The country’s first ever cricket tournament for women will be held later this month, the Qatar Cricket Association (QCA) announced yesterday.

“The Qatar Challenge Cup will be a good opportunity for women cricket players in Qatar to showcase their skills,” QCA president M.A. Shahid told reporters at a press conference.

“Our ultimate aim is to build a strong foundation for women’s cricket so that we can have teams representing Qatar in various international tournaments,” Shahid added.

The start date for the event has been tentatively fixed at March 22 and a final decision will be taken when the QCA meets on March 15.

The QCA said it had the permission of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) to conduct cricket tournaments for women because it was the “need of the times.”

  “Qatar wants to promote women’s participation in every sphere of life and the cricket tournament is also a part of that policy,” said Shahid.

 “There is tremendous enthusiasm from among girls in Qatar for cricket,” added QCA general secretary Manzoor Ahmed, who is also the tournament director.

“About 45 ladies have been selected and three teams formed after we indentified talent at our coaching clinics,” senior QCA coach Aruna De’Silva, who  is also in charge of the association’s Women’s Cricket Development Programme.

As of now the women’s tournament will feature three teams – MES School Team, QCA -1, QCA - 2.

MES are being led by sports teacher Latha Dakshinamurthy, who is a graduate of Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education in Gwalior, India where she was cricket captain.

“Thanks to the QCA and its president Mr. Shahid we have been able to put together a team,” Dakshinamurhty said.

“The QCA helped the school with equipment as well as training,” she added.
 

Ushas Andrews will lead the QCA- 1 team. A lawyer by profession,Andrews has represented Kerala University and has also played in the Trivandrum League.

“We could never imagine that one day we will get a chance to play a cricket in Qatar,” said Andrews, a wicket-keeper batsman.

The QCA- 2 team will be led by Paramjit Kaur Bhullar, a Physical Education teacher with the Birla Public School.

“Our aim is to represent Qatar,” said Bhullar. “The players are from various nationalities but there is complete harmony,” she said.

The QCA has also trained Bright Future Pakistani School teacher Zahra Tahir as a physical trainer responsible for  the fitness of the players.

She was sent to Colombo by the QCA for a sports medicine course recently. “My job is to ensure that the players stay fit,” said Tahir.

The QCA also has to plans to have under- 15 and under-19 teams tournaments shortly so that Qatar could send a team to the Asian Cricket Council under-19 event in Thailand in November.

“Our aim is to have at least four teams in these age groups so that we have solid talent pool to select our teams from,” said coach De’Silva.

The QCA has named Maryam Gul Khan as the women’s cricket coordinator, a position she is particularily proud of.

“I am perhaps the only person from the Philippines to have anything to do with cricket,” she joked. “Maybe it is a world record.”

She became involved in the game through her husband Gul Khan, a coach and an active member of the QCA.

 

 
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