The women of Sontiyam village in Visakhapatnam created history by becoming the first non-Tamil Nadu team to play in the Finals of the Gramotsavam Women’s Throw Ball tournament. Unmindful of losing in the Finals to the Pullangounderpudur (Coimbatore) team, the jubilant women sang and danced embodying the true spirit of Gramotsavam, one of the largest rural sport and cultural extravaganza that is conducted annually by Isha Outreach. The overjoyed women said it was the first time they had travelled out of Visakhapatnam, and that too to participate in a sporting final.
Hon’ble Governor of Tamil Nadu Shri. Banwarilal Purohit, several ministers from the Tamil Nadu cabinet and Smt. Karnam Malleswari, India’s first woman Olympic medalist (weightlifting) gave away the prizes along with Sadhguru, Founder, Isha Foundation.
Andhra Pradesh hosted its first Gramotsavam last year when the state government partnered with UNICEF and invited Isha Foundation to conduct the rural sports festival in Anandapuram mandal of Vizag district. This year, Sadhguru invited the qualifying Andhra teams to travel to Erode for the zonal and final matches.
Lauding Andhra Pradesh for establishing “sports stadiums in every district,” Sadhguru called upon Tamil Nadu to emulate their neighbours to build a sporting culture in the state. Sadhguru said folk tradition that included a song “for every activity starting from sowing to harvesting” is slowly dying in India and added that the objective of Gramotsavam is, “We want to bring back the celebrations in the lives of rural India.”
Smt. Karnam Malleswari lauded the efforts of Isha Foundation in bringing the sport to rural India. She said rural India is rich in talent but lacks infrastructure and coaches. “We need this for India to win medals in international sports,” she said.
After the Finals, the players from Sontiyam (Visakhapatnam) travelled to Isha Yoga Center for a day. When they returned to Sontiyam early this morning, the players were given a rousing reception by Isha Volunteers and the community. Bedecked in garlands and showered with petals, the overwhelmed women experienced the full taste of their success back on home soil. The whole village in Visakhapatnam has been rooting for their women’s throw ball team and the players acknowledge that they could never have come this far without the support of their men and the affection of the community.
As received in a Press Release