The whistle blew and the match began

The whistle blew and the match began

It was a 6 on 6 game which had 3 athletes on either team. it was obvious to see that the game was going to be tight one. Both teams were going forward but equally good keeping the ball out of their own goal. The event kicked off with India Spurs members who had been a part of previous events in Delhi and Bangalore, giving a brief overview of a unified match and some tips of embracing the Athletes inside and outside the pitch.” Akshay Sud, Chairman, India Spurs. The athletes arrived beginning with a quick warm up session that involved jogging, stretching, passing, and some shooting to get everyone pumped up as the team’s were divided and eagerly awaiting the start of the match.

India Spurs and SO Bharat once again came together to continue the work started by THFC through their campaign “Football for Social Change”. This was the third such event which had India Spurs members actively coaching the athletes, but the first to be held in Mumbai. Athletes from SO Bharat- Mumbai joined the India Spurs end of season celebration held on 15th May 2016 in Mumbai. A Unified 5-a-side Football Exhibition Match was conducted at Astro Park, Kamala Mills, Trade View Oasis Complex, Lower Parel, Mumbai with Mumbai Spurs playing Unified Partners, the first engagement of Mumbai Spurs with SO Bharat. 8 Athletes and 4 Coaches from SO Bharat- Maharashtra participated in the event.

As Recounted by Akshay Sud: Blue team was the first to strike after 15 mins of a very end to end game. Red team wasn’t fazed by losing the lead and kept pressing, which eventually got them the equalizer. At the end of the first half the game was perfectly poised at 1-1. The second half began and it was the red team that came out all guns blazing with a neat one two between their strikers that was finished off with a great goal. The goal scoring didn’t end there as the blue team pressed on and scored 2 more to make it 3-2 but with just under 2 minutes to go before the end of the game a precise through ball opened the defense up and the red team made no mistake to slot it home to take the game to penalties as it finished 3-3. Penalties is always a nervy affair but the Mumbai athletes showed tremendous character as they all hit the target with only 2 not being able to convert. The game however did go to the last kick. A penalty from India Spurs member that was saved and gave blue team the win!

It’s was just a fantastic game filled with some really good skills and moments on the ball. I was there in the Bangalore event and it seems these guys just keep getting better and betterAnoop (Bangalore Head, India Spurs)

The high level of football was clearly evident but what was more impressive was hearing the Coaches talk about the training the Athletes were put through as they prepared for the World Games last summer. It’s always a proud moment to be able to help out but I think next time I might ask these athletes to give me a few tips and tricks of how to finish in front of goalAditya Tendulkar (Mumbai Head, India Spurs)

All the action and celebrations were covered by the Star Sports team who covered this event. They even had the opportunity to take interviews of some SO Bharat coaches.

The event concluded with India Spurs awarding each Athlete and Coach with a medal for being a part of this event. All this and the group pictures taken at the end were well covered by Star Sports and a video for the same was shown on their weekly football show “let’s talk football” the following day.

“ Overall, the event in Mumbai was another success and we all at India Spurs look forward to hosting more such events in the near future”- Akshay Sud

SO Bharat and India Spurs joined hands in September 2014 when their members participated at the THF Coaches Clinic held in Gurgaon. More and more members of India Spurs began to engage with SO Bharat Athletes spreading from one city to the other. Bangalore, Chennai and Mumbai Spurs have played with the Athletes and also made the Special Olympics Program Presentation a part of their agenda when they held the inaugural Annual Meet at Bangalore in July 2015

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