boAt and the Shikhar Dhawan Foundation Unite to Commence a Talent Development and Girl Empowerment Initiative in Sports


New Delhi: ‘Freedom To Play’ is a talent development initiative by boAt in collaboration with the Shikhar Dhawan Foundation. Shikhar Dhawan Foundation aims to work towards addressing the issue of providing quality education, hunger eradication, job creation, eradication of poverty, illiteracy, and other issues which are prevalent in society.

Under the ‘Freedom to Play’ initiative, boAt and Shikhar Dhawan Foundation recently organised a football tournament that aimed to give girls an opportunity to pursue their dreams and honour their skills. Shikhar Dhawan Foundation’s philosophy of working towards community upliftment always and with boAt’s brand philosophy of ‘Do What Floats Your boAt’, both the organisations aim to support communities across the country and enable them to explore their off-beat passions. To help children pursue their interests in art, dance, music, theatre, sports and more, boAt has launched many similar programmes in collaboration with various organisations.

‘Freedom To Play’ hosted 130+ girls from across Delhi NCR. Not only did the initiative focus on empowering young and passionate girls but also provided talent development scholarships to gratify the best performers with an opportunity to enhance their skills. The tournament was kicked off by Aman Gupta, Co-Founder and CMO, boAt and Indian cricketer and founder of the Shikhar Dhawan foundation, Shikhar Dhawan.

At the inauguration of the tournament Aman Gupta, Co-founder and CMO, boAt said, “It was a pleasure for us to associate with Shikhar Dhawan Foundation in this thoughtful activity in the field of sports. We are very happy to be giving a platform to all these smaller communities in India to showcase their talent and skills. We will continue to live by our motto of ‘Do What Floats your boat and come up with more such initiatives in the future.”

Shikhar Dhawan, the founder of the Shikhar Dhawan Foundation, says, “My passion has always been sports-related to create a community that is dedicated to sports and includes individuals of all ages, irrespective of gender. Nowadays, physical activity is key for an individual’s overall development. We want to take full advantage of the tremendous opportunity to empower girls via sports. Since the commencement of time, women have been empowering generations, and our objective is merely to contribute as an interface for their advancement.

Amitesh Shah, Group CEO of DA-ONE (an initiative of Shikhar Dhawan) says, “Our enthusiasm for sports has always been a strong passion, and I’m now fascinated by how enthusiastic, bold, and determined our juveniles are to sports and this demonstrates a positive sportsmanship approach. It is important to always strive to improve one’s performance in order to succeed and be successful. With this association, our goal is to encourage these girls in any way we can in the constant battle they face.”

Dr Kanika Dewan, Director of Impact and Strategy at the Shikhar Dhawan Foundation, says, “Although some of the girls live in urban areas, they still face hardships and concern about being stigmatised. Both organisations want girls to have the opportunity to empower themselves in every profession, especially in sports. In a nation with over 130 crore people, girls in India are feeling the frenzy that comes with the increasing popularity of football. girls’ football is becoming slowly popular in the nation thanks to the media, which is why it has started receiving recognition in recent times. The first day of this tournament featured qualifying games, while the second day featured the semi-finals and finals. The winning team received professional training assistance as well as several additional rewards.”

Tournament Structure

  • 7 A-side tournament
  • 12 participating teams from Delhi & NCR
  • League cum knockout tournament
  • Minimum 2 games per team
  • Total number of participants: 132 girls (11 players in each team)
  • Tournament was conducted on August 27 & 28, 2022
  • Each team plays 3 matches.
  • Win – 4 points, Draw – 2 points, Loss: 0 points.
  • The top team from each group qualify for the knockout semi-final.

Semi Final 1: topper of Group A vs topper of Group B

Semi Final 2: topper of Group C vs topper of Group D

Match for Rank 3 Final

  • Total number of matches in the tournament: 16