Project Sakhi

‘Ladki hai kya karegi khel k?…

padhoge likhoge toh banoge nawaab

kheloge kudoge toh hooge kharaab! …”

Haven’t we grown up overhearing these statements? It’s hard to get to the position where you represent your country in one sport.

Imagine a girl being good at not one or two but three #sports. Shireen Limaye is that one-in-a-million case who surprised everyone with her talent.

Against all odds, with a willpower that is almost enviable, the #Indian Women’s Basketball Team Captain is an inspiration for thousands of young girls in India looking to showcase their talent in sports.

Here’s this week’s Project Sakhi Kahani:

Every sports story begins with an athlete finding their calling. But for Shireen Limaye, whatever sport she took up, she was able to excel in it. Perhaps it was the drive to be the best or perhaps it was a silent answer to all the people that said, ‘Girls can’t play.’

Today, she leads the Indian basketball team. But it had not been her sport since the beginning.

“ I was a roller skating district champion when I was 6. That’s where it all began, the joy that sports brought me was immense. Further down the road, I played netball for India and represented my country in the CWG 2010 hosted in Delhi. There was a time when I was ranked 2nd in India in Snooker. So, from my childhood, I believe I had a lot of options to choose from, but I decided on what my heart loved the most – basketball.”

Shireen further explains that it’s been one heck of a journey. Even after being such a talented individual and a skilled sportsperson, her road to making her dream come true was anything but easy,

“I’ve had my share of downs as well as so many ups. Amid all my hurdles, the most challenging part of the journey has been injuries. It’s always been those injuries that took me one step back, but they have made me the strongest person. I have only come back stronger after an injury.”

While some may argue that we are still lagging behind in the sport, Shireen believes otherwise,

“We stand 7th in Asia and Oceania. Where teams like New Zealand, China, Australia, and Japan come and participate. So yeah it’s a good rank for India but we definitely can do better which we will next year.”

For the Indian basketball captain, women are way stronger than they think they are.

“In the Olympics, #women are getting more medals than men. That says just about everything. But the most important thing to take away is that it all starts from home. It starts with parents letting their children go and get dirty in the mud. It starts there!

I have nothing but gratitude towards her friends and family who have worked tirelessly every day to make all of this happen, especially my mom’s wheelchair basketball team (Pune Ryders).”

She leaves a very key advice for budding players of Indian basketball, “Just be out there. Play because you like to play, not just because you’re good at it. Hard work beats talent, always remember that.”

#ProjectSakhi #SakhiStories

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