A 15-year-old girl, Ananya, with a vast and impressive profile, who has been invited to multiple international events, has shared some of the inside stories about her journey so far. She is an author, the founder of a sports body, and has been an active member of several social service purposes. Let’s have a look at what all she has to tell Somapika Sarkar, Founder of Hurray Kids.
Q1. How did you start your journey in the field of football?
Ananya: With the encouragement of my father, I started my journey in the field of football. I started playing football at the mere age of 4 or 5 years. I fell in awe with this game in the year 2014 as I was watching an intense match between Barcelona and Argentina. In the year 2017, I took part in a writing competition in Mission Eleven Million as India participated in under 17 World Cup. The aim of the writing competition was to popularise the game across the country. My winning essay discussed how football could foster friendship and global peace. This brought me on to the global stage as I represented India as well as made me the youngest journalist. I started my global journey in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
Q2. What have you learnt as you started your journey as the youngest journalist representing India on a global platform?
Ananya: I participated in the program where children of over 193 countries participated in promoting the idea that football fosters friendship and global peace. The aim of the program is to develop a tolerance for different cultures and nationalities by taking the help of football. The program helps in promoting nine fundamental values of human life. These values are:
I got to know about different traditions, cultures, and countries after participating in the enriching program. I, along with other children, formed different groups and submitted the reports of daily football matches. I took special care of the fact that I present authentic facts and edited the contents with the utmost vigilance.
Q3. How this overall journey helped you in becoming more self-aware?
Ananya: If you want to excel in sports, you need to be self-aware. There are three questions that help in improving your sense of self-awareness. These three questions are:
- Who am I?
- What am I capable of?
- What do I want?
When you find the answers to all these questions, you become more mindful and confident. You gain control over your behavior, emotions, and actions. Thus, we can deliver excellence at a consistent level. Also, we can prepare ourselves with a lot more determination and confidence. All these activities helped me to grow and develop both professionally and physically in life. For this, I will always remain grateful to the Football for Friendship Program.
Q4. Tell us something about your book Ananya.
The name of my book is “My Journey from Mohali to Saint Petersburg.” There are a total of 21 short stories in it. The stories narrate my experiences of participating in this amazing global program. All the stories revolve around the idea of success, happiness, and real fulfillment in life. They also reflect how human values impact performance in sports. In case you want to have a look at these amazing stories, please get my book from Amazon.
Q5. What are your opinions regarding Twitter being more prominent in supporting or opposing any social cause, as compared to other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.?
In my opinion, Twitter is more involved in promoting or opposing any social cause. Instagram and Facebook users are mostly youths. But Twitter has users from all age groups. And when it comes to any social cause, it is always better to garner support from all age groups of society.
Q6. What is so special about Messi, in your opinion?
I have been drawing inspiration from this legend since I was a little kid. I was appalled by his speed and dribbling techniques. His swiftness is what I like the most.
Q7. What are the other sports you have interest in?
Other than football, I love playing Basketball.
Q8. What is your idea behind beginning with the initiative “Sports to Lead”?
With this highly innovative initiative, I would like to inculcate life skills and values among the youth. This program leverages sports as a medium of learning and reaches sustainable development goals. Not just the urban landscape, my program aims at covering the rural areas also.
Q9. Has playing football brought any changes in your personal development?
Sports have taught me some of the best lessons of my life. It has made me a stronger person, both physically and mentally. I can face all the difficulties that come my way. I have become more determined. I have learnt to accept failures as a part of life. I do not break down at any cost and keep going.
Q10. What are your plans to attract more girls to join sports?
Girls, I feel, need a gentle push and positive words as they find themselves in the dilemma of whether to join sports or not. Parents play a significant role in supporting the talents of their daughters. Gradually, girls will be there representing India on the global forefront.
Q11. What role plays sports in bringing in social impact?
In my opinion, sports help in overcoming divisions and differences. They can help in making people more tolerant. Sports help overcome tensions and conflicts.
Q12. Please share an instance where you felt sports had brought a significant change.
Ananya: A football match between America and Iraq. These two teams played the match in utter sportsman spirit. They forgot their enmities and all sorts of political confrontations and played the match with lots of enthusiasm and energy.
Q13. How do you manage your hectic schedule, given that you are just a student?
Ananya: It gets exceedingly difficult to manage studies along with promoting and supporting a social cause. So I study till late night to keep my CGP level above average. My family and teachers help me a lot in my studies.
Q14. What do you want to pursue in the future?
Ananya: I want to pursue FIFA Masters. It is a sports management course. It comprises of complete social, legal, and economic dimensions of sports.
Q15. Tell us something about the upcoming event in September at the United Nations.
Ananya: I have been invited to an online event organized by the united nations. Earlier I have visited their events twice. But this time, owing to the pandemic, the event will take place online. I will be sharing my point of view regarding the nine values of human life.
Q16. Where do you see yourself in the coming 5 to 8 years on a professional front?
Ananya: I am keenly looking forward to doing the FIFA masters. Also, alongside I will be continuing with all the social causes that I am involved with right now.
Q17. Before parting ways, please leave a sweet message for all the children out there.
Ananya: If you have a dream, take it forward. Do not let anyone trample your dreams. Work hard, dream hard, and you will be able to accomplish what you wish for.
Watch the complete interview below