Akshay Kumar opens the neighbourhood football tournament for kids from Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad
BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | October 3, 2016
The opening ceremony of the third season of the Hindustan Times Great Indian Football Action (GIFA) was held at Thyagaraj Stadium on September 24. It was Delhi-NCRâ€™s biggest neighbourhood football tournament for kids. The event saw the presence of Bollywoodâ€™s fittest superstar Akshay Kumar, known for his extraordinary spirit of adventure, fitness and sports.
Organised by the Hindustan Times Group, the event was attended by 450 participating teams of young football players. The tournament began from October 1. The previous two editions of the GIFA have successfully fostered fitness and harmony at the community level.
Speaking on the occasion, Akshay Kumar said, â€śHT GIFA is providing a great platform for kids and is making football a popular sport in the country. If your child wants to get into any sport, always support them. You never know, they might become an Olympic champion.â€ť
With the idea of emphasising the importance of sports and fitness in the digital scenario, HT GIFA was initiated in 2014. It was the first-of-its-kind inter-locality football tournament, which provides a platform for kids and families to step outside and have a chance to interact, stay fit and establish a connection with people in their area through sports.
Ashu Phakey, GIFA Brand Ambassador and Business Head, HT, said, â€śHT GIFA was started as a small community initiative and in just two years it has become the countryâ€™s largest neighbourhood football tournament with 23,000 kids connected with it. Our Prime Minister in his Mann ki Baat address spoke about the need to take football to every neighbourhood across India. HT GIFA is one step in that direction and we hope to encourage the youth to come out and play more.â€ť
Vineet Relia, Managing Director, SARE Homes, the Presenting Sponsor of HT GIFA 2016, said, â€śSARE Homes believes in offering experiences to learn through play and is happy to team up with HT GIFA that provides a unique platform for children to show their talent.â€ť
Sanjeev Handa, VP and Marketing Head, Maruti Suzuki India, who unveiled the trophy with Akshay Kumar, said, â€śTodayâ€™s youth connects well with football and Swift also supports it. Not just here at HT GIFA, we also support football at ISL.â€ť
To spice up the football training, HT GIFA partnered with Arsenal Soccer Schools. This year the event was open to teams from Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida and Ghaziabad. There have been a number of online contests, raising the bar up to 2,300 registrations. The contest provided a next level platform for kids under the senior and junior category. The matches will be conducted across two weekends in a knockout format with seven players each side. Each match will last for 30 minutes. The champions will be crowned at the closing ceremony.
In the last season, across Delhi and Gurgaon, 459 teams participated in HT GIFA. Owing to the growing popularity, in the third season the tournament was made open to kids from Gurgaon, Delhi, Noida and Ghaziabad.