Mohali, Chandigarh- Ananya Kamboj, a 12th grader studying at Vivek High School has several accomplishments to her name at a young age. For the last five years, she has been selected to represent India as a Young Journalist at Gazprom International Children’s Social Programme Football for Friendship (F4F).
Football for Friendship has received three GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS™ titles for the most nationalities in a football training session in history (2019), the most users in a football video hangout (2020) and the most visitors at a virtual stadium (2021).
“Being part of three Guinness World Record events, I feel proud, honoured, and happy to have achieved something that on the one hand is rather rare, but on the other is simply the result of my passion for football as something that makes me wholesome,” said Ananya. “I am thankful to Gazprom International Children’s Social programme Football for Friendship team for their support and encouragement. It is a wonderful platform to celebrate friendship through the unifying power of football.”
In 2018, Ananya was invited to Moscow as a special guest at the world premiere of her book “My Journey from Mohali to St. Petersburg” – an anthology of 21 stories that are based on the fundamental human values that she learned during the program. The book was officially released by Viktor Zubkov, Chairman of the Gazprom Board of Directors as part of the 6th season of the F4F organized by Gazprom, an official partner of FIFA and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. Ananya was awarded the best young journalist award for her effort in spreading the values of the program through this book.
The book presents a holistic picture of the good life, which transcends the prevalent narrow understanding of what constitutes success, fulfilment, and happiness in life. It offers a fresh interpretation of sports through human values which collectively enrich the different dimensions of life. A harmonious realization of all these values helps people grow as truly and fully human. The book should appeal to all those who are concerned about questions like how to be a good person, how to live a good life, and how to create a good society.
“When most people talk about a school curriculum, they think about math, science, social studies, and language courses. Seldom do I hear or read about sports as being part of the curriculum. The problem is that the neglect of teaching sports in schools is hurting our youth and causing problems in society. If a person has never learned any sport, how are they able to discern the difference between victory and defeat? That is the essence of sports education,” said Ananya.
In 2019, Ananya was invited by the International Children’s Games (ICG), an International Olympic Committee-sanctioned event to speak on peace, friendship, and youth empowerment during the opening ceremony in Ufa, Russia. She has also been a regular participant in the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Youth Forum for the last four years as well as various other United Nations initiatives.
“I believe that education, sports, and childhood character development do go hand in hand. The balance between sports, extracurricular and academic achievements is critical for the overall development of the child,” said Ananya.
About Ananya Kamboj
Ananya Kamboj, a 16-year-old girl from a humble background with myriad dreams twinkling in her eyes is a Global Citizen from India. An ambassador of football, peace, SDGs, and youth empowerment, she wishes to take the spirit of hope, togetherness, and inspiration to millions of children across India and South Asia and make this world a better place to live in.
About Football for Friendship (F4F)
F4F has existed since 2013. It is organised by Gazprom and supported by FIFA, UEFA and the United Nations. Over the previous eight seasons, more than 15,000 children and young people from 211 countries and regions have taken part in the programme. In 2020, Football for Friendship took place for the first time in an online format on a specially developed digital platform.