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Sikkim women referees short-listed for Asian Football Confederation, Tajikistan

Reshmi Chettri and Phurki Bhutia
Two women football referees from Sikkim have been short-listed to officiate in the Asian Football Confederation Under-14 Championship that will be held be in Tajikistan from April 26.
Reshmi Chettri, 23, and Phurki Bhutia, 23, who left Delhi for the tourney today are the first women referees from Sikkim to get such an opportunity.
While Reshmi works as a lower division clerk in the state forest department, Phurki is a sport teacher in Gujarat.
The duo have been officiating in several matches, both in the men's and women's categories, conducted by the Sikkim Football Association (SFA).
While Chettri is from Pangthang village in East Sikkim, Lepcha is from Bhushuk Naitam village, also from East Sikkim.
Tajikistan will take part in the tourney along with defending champions Bangladesh, and Bhutan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Iran, Kyrgyzstan and the Maldives.
"This is a great achievement for our girls as women referees break the stereotype. We are proud of both the girls. This is the first overseas assignment for Sikkim women referees," said the general secretary of the SFA, Menla Ethenpa.
The head referee of the Committee of SFA, Chanchuk Lama, said the selection was conducted by the All India Football Federation and the Asian Football Confederation.
"They (the girls) had to go through the selection process - fitness, theory and practical (levels) - and they were shortlisted after a viva-voce," said Lama.
The final match of the Tajikistan tourney is on May 1.
Both the girls are national-level football players and were appointed as referees by the AIFF in 2012.
Reshmi's father Man Bahadhur Chettri said he was happy with his daughter's selection. "She always wanted to serve football. We are happy with her achievement," said Chettri who works in the forest department.
Phurki's parents, Sonam Gyasto Bhutia and Phampho Bhutia, who are farmers, said their happiness knew no bounds as their daughter had been selected for the overseas assignment.(TT)

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