"No, we don't get a penny for playing", says Sourima Dey, the captain of the West Bengal women's Kabaddi team

Sourima Dey, residing in Chakdaha, is playing Kabaddi since she was of 14 years. She turned her passion into a profession and loves it.

Shreya Ghosh
New Update

Sourima Dey, residing in Chakdaha, Nadia, is playing Kabaddi since she was 14 years old. The 8th standard student of Bapuji Balika Vidyamandir, Chakdaha started playing Kabaddi out of her passion. Later, it turned to her profession when she understood that she is good at what she does. Her school teachers helped her to join and embark on this journey of Kabaddi. Meanwhile, she started loving and enjoying the sport and grew fond of it. Sourima said, "I started playing like a kid who loves the sport and finds it amusing. As years went by, I started adoring the sport and polishing my skills and decided that I want to reach heights in this sport itself."


Image Credit: Getty Images

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Sourima Dey started her journey under the guidance and training of her coach Sujit Ghosh. Sujit Ghosh is the one who taught her, trained her, prepared her, and kickstarted her kabaddi journey. Now she is training under Pinaki Jati for the last 1 year.

All you need to know about the captain:

The 23-year-old achieved quite a few milestones in her almost 9 years career. She participated in various tournaments like School National, University tournaments, All Bengal tournament by the name "Re-Olympic", and also All India tournament. As the captain, she represented West Bengal in the All India tournament and took the team to different levels. Playing in 2 different tournaments in All India, she and her team reached the quarter-finals and unfortunately loses against Haryana. In the second, the team reaches the semi-finals but could not make it to the finals.

In a conversation about the present scenario of female state Kabaddi, Sourima Dey said, "For both the male and female players, we are only participating in the matches and competitions but not getting the certificates in return. There is probably some kind of mishappenings going on. We'll get recognition like before once everything gets solved and the court permits everything."

Obstacles the players face:

Talking about the limitations on state-level kabaddi, "People are unaware of Kabaddi, unlike cricket and football. We are working tirelessly towards establishing the sports and us. Men's Pro Kabaddi has already started and they are gaining the limelight and recognition. The female players are working hard and we will reach our goals one day. It might take some time but we are continuing our hard work for the day."

She believes that more coverage of the sport, help, and guidance from the government will help in boosting and advancing Kabaddi. She quoted, "The last tournament that I played in was the All India tournament, and it took place in Andhra Pradesh. The channels of Andhra Pradesh covered the news of the competition but the rest of India was unaware of it due to no coverage. If the government and sports authorities focus and assist in these situations, then people will get to know more and with that the popularity, news, opportunities increases."

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"There are so many girls playing in West Bengal, but only one of the lot gets the job" : Sourima Dey

When asked about the job opportunities, Dey revealed, "There is a good number of job opportunities in the sports quota. But when it comes to female kabaddi players, the situation is vice-versa. The job situation worsened to the limit that there is only one vacancy for female Kabaddi players out of all. 7 of us in the team get indicated while saying that they only need one player. There are so many girls playing in West Bengal, but only one of the lot gets the job. The money of filling up the form simply gets wasted. Also, half of the girls don't even fill up forms seeing the vacancy. The situation is quite similar for the male kabaddi players as well."

Talking about kabaddi's fee structure, she said, " No, we don't get a penny for playing. The only money associated is the prize money. Even while we played for state or All India, we got nothing. The prize money for the All India tournament was 3 lakh and the winning team got the amount. Even the prize money of the tournaments is not that great. The government and organizers take care of our jerseys, food and lodging cost, and other necessary allowances."

Her next goals:

Sourima will be visiting Haryana soon for the trials of the Women Kabaddi League 2022. Women Kabaddi League is an 8-team tournament played in the Pro Kabaddi system, hosted in Dubai. The dates are not decided yet but they will occur at any time in 2022.

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We also asked her about the influence of Pro Kabaddi and if any day Women's Pro Kabaddi occurs, then how it can benefit. "If any day Pro Kabaddi starts for women players then we hope that it continues for a long run. I remember that it started once but it stopped in between. There was news that the tournament will restart but it didn't happen due to unforeseen reasons. As I mentioned earlier the Women's Pro Kabaddi League 2022 starting soon, and maybe it will increase the chances of the Pro Kabaddi League for women in India. It will of course help in improving the current scenario."

When asked about potential players in the state and country, and if there are enough players to start a tournament, she said, " A lot! Players are sitting and waiting for opportunities."

Speaking on her personal experience, fitness, and coaching, she said, "Our practice sessions are continuing as usual. There are no shortcuts when it comes to practice. We practice every day for at least 3-4 hours. And when we prepare for any tournament, then we practice twice a day; once in the morning and then in the afternoon." She further added, "When we prepare for big tournaments, our diet changes, we crush gyms as well, and also quite a few changes happen for betterment."

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