The love for the game knows no boundaries, as a young fan makes a special trip to witness the women in blue in action at the Asian Games.
India defeated Bangladesh by eight wickets in the first semi-final to book a place in the finals to contest for a gold medal. On the other hand, Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan by six wickets in the second semi-final to progress into the finals for a gold medal match against India.
Cricket made its return to the 19th edition of the Asian Games after a gap of 9 years. Malaysia, Indonesia, and Hong Kong were the three other teams to progress to the quarter-finals through the league stages alongside India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Thailand who qualified for the quarter-finals based on the ICC Women’s T20I rankings.
“There is not much cricket in China, very few cricket venues, very few people play it and many even don’t know how it is played. Only Guangzhou, where cricket was played during the 2010 Asian Games has a permanent cricket stadium. It’s because of historical reasons. Even this ground was a flower field before the Asian Games. It was converted into a cricket field for the Asian Games. A few warm-up games were played here before the Asian Games.” Jun Yu who is pursuing a Master’s in Zoology from a university in Bejing speaks about the lack of interest in cricket as a sport in the country.
We have seen many cricket-crazy fans, idolize the legends of the game and travel from a distance that knows no limits, just to watch their favourite players in action, especially in the men’s game. Similarly, in the ongoing Asian Games, we witnessed a local spectator, who traveled a distance of 1300 Kilometers from Beijing to Hangzhou by paying 1000 Yuan (INR 11,400).
Smriti Mandhana's fan from China traveled 1200 km from Beijing to Hangzhou to watch her play.
— Female Cricket (@imfemalecricket) September 25, 2023
He made the trip just to watch her favourite woman cricketer Smriti Mandhana, the vice-captain of the Indian women’s team in action. Indian women’s team was contesting for the gold medal against Sri Lanka with an intent to clinch a historic gold medal in their very first appearance in the Asian Games as far as women’s cricket is concerned.
“I spent 1000 Yuan (INR 11,400) to come here from Beijing. I have my studies and so I can’t stay back for the men’s tournament. I am returning to Beijing on Tuesday.” The young fan Jun Yu on his journey from Beijing to Hangzhou to watch the women in blue in action. He also carried a poster with him, which read “Mandhana The Goddess”, expressing his admiration for the Indian women’s team vice-captain.
(Quotes sourced from India Today).