Indians are celebrating after the women’s cricket team won the inaugural Under-19 World Cup, in what has been called a landmark moment in the history of women’s cricket in India.
India thrashed England by seven wickets in an exciting one-sided final held in South Africa on Sunday.
This is the first women’s cricket team to have won a world championship.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called their victory a thrilling and inspiring moment for the country.
Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar said the win would “inspire a whole generation to take up sports”.
The official Twitter handle of Indian Women’s Cricket Team at BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) shared a short video on the champions.
In India, cricket is a hugely popular sport followed by millions. But it is also a male-dominated industry, where women’s cricket has struggled to enjoy the same level of recognition and funding as men’s cricket.
In recent years, the BCCI has made attempts to address the situation and bring women’s cricket at par with their male counterparts.
Last year, the board announced a women’s version of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the world’s biggest Twenty20 franchise competition. Five teams for the tournament were sold for £465m last week. in what was described as a “transformative” deal for the women’s game.
But women cricketers continue to face stigma around sports as they are often seen unfit for the profession.
Savitri Devi, mother of one of the Under-19 players Archana Devi, said she was ridiculed and called a “witch” for letting her daughter play cricket.
“I have sold my daughter, I have put her in a wrong line – people used to tell me these things to my face,” Savitri Devi told Indian Express newspaper.
On Sunday, as the girls with jubilant smiles lifted the trophy in Potchefstroom, many on social media congratulated them for shattering stereotypes and scripting history.
“Your triumph gives wings to the dreams of millions of young girls in India. India is proud of you,” Home Minister Amit Shah tweeted.
The BCCI has also announced £500,000 in prize money for the squad.
For the team, the win has been an overwhelming moment. Photos and videos from the locker room showed them dancing and screaming in joy.
Captain Shafali Verma said she could not hold back tears while lifting the trophy.
“I will take this confidence forward to the senior T20 World Cup,” she told reporters.