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Vegetable vendor's daughter Puja Kumari defies odds to get selected for under-19 Indian football team

Subrat, Bihar: Fighting all odds, Puja Kumari, a daughter of vegetable vendor in Katihar district of Bihar, has secured her place in the India under-19 football team.

She is currently in Raigarh with the national team preparing for a tournament to be held in Dubai.

Puja Kumari with her parents. Firstpost/Alok Kumar

Puja Kumari with her parents. Firstpost/Alok Kumar

Puja is a student of Gandhi High School and studies in class 10.

Despite struggling to make both ends meet, her parents backed her all along since class 5th when Puja pleaded for the first time to allow her join extra sports classes after the normal school timings.

She played Kho-Kho earlier but gradually inclined towards football. Her father Ram Janam and Sajni Devi had to face the wrath of the neighborhood for allowing her growing daughter wear shorts and T-shirt.

“It was a basic requirement for her. How could She play wearing traditional attire? We are very poor but understood her needs. Though it was not easy to fulfill. My daughter became like an eyesore for the people living in our Mohallah. They objected her sports dress. Some of them used to come to us giving advise to maintain social ethics,” Ramjanam said.

Puja is third among five of her siblings and never shies away helping her parents.

Her mother Sajni breaks down describing her zeal to excel in the field and make them proud of her. “Puja often goes to the place where her father sell vegetables. She would assist him in weighing the vegetables for the customers and always insist to push the cart back home in the evening. My daughter never demanded anything extra despite the fact that some of her colleagues in the team are very well-off,” Sajni said.

Distric Education Officer (DE) Shriram Singh and sports officer Brijesh Vikalp lent their helping hands to help Puja achieve her goals. Vilap said that the state government was providing her all possible assistance and promised to do so in future as well.

Updated Date: Jun 06, 2017 19:38 PM

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