National women football team's goalkeeper Aditi Chauhan, who is the first woman from India to play a soccer league in the United Kingdom, exudes confidence over changing scenario of sports in the country.
Aditi, who has just returned from her two-year stint with West Ham United Ladies Football Club, says people's outlook towards football was gradually changing, which would prove to be beneficial in the longer run.
"Now people see football as a competitive sport. Number of leagues and clubs has increased in football; professionalism has come into the game. So, now parents do not see football as hobby but as career," says Aditi, who is in Jammu to be with his father A.V. Chauhan, CRPF Inspector General (Jammu Sector).
Aditi, who is recovering here from an injury, has been catching up on local football scene lately, which has impressed her beyond measure.
Aditi says she feels very proud seeing Kashmiri youth channeling their energy in positive direction and opting for football.
"My dad is posted here, so I know the atmosphere and the vibe in Kashmir. I know the difficulties people face here. I was so happy to see a women's team participating (in the Indian Women's League's preliminary round)," says Aditi.
"I have met a lot of girls who come up to me and say that I have inspired them. This gives a lot of satisfaction that I have inspired people in pursuit of my passion. I feel very proud that I have done something for my country and obviously for myself," Aditi adds.
"I also got to know about a guy, who got involved in militancy. But after watching football, he got over that phase through it. He mentioned that he got inspired by me and that made me feel so good that how one can influence someone and push them in right direction. That was really positive for me to see players from Jammu and Kashmir," she adds.
Aditi, 25, who has been a part of the senior India national women's football team for six years, is now eyeing a return to the team from where she has been out due to the injury.
She will be leaving for Delhi next week to resume her training ahead of the national camp so that she gets fit in time for the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, to be held in August later this year.