Just two days before the Under-18 women’s football team was scheduled to return from Australia, Nitisha Negi, one of the 16 girls who had gone to participate in the School Pacific Games in the country, was reported missing from the Glenelg beach in Adelaide.
Her body was recovered off the rocks at Glenelg on Monday.
The 15-year-old was with four other teammates at the time of the incident. The five girls were near breakwater rocks on Sunday evening when they were swept away by a wave. Four of them were rescued by the hockey players of the Under-18 team, but Nitisha could not be saved.
On Sunday evening, Nitisha’s father, Puran Singh, received a call from the football management team that her daughter had been swept off the beach and could not be traced.
“I had no clue what to do when I got the news of my missing daughter. But deep down, I hoped they would find her. But Monday morning I was informed of her death from drowning,” said the grieving father.
On November 30, parents and family members had gone to see off Nitisha at IGI airport, proud to have their daughter represent the country.
They now wait for the dead body to arrive.
“I was told we’ll have to wait at least four to five days to receive Nitisha’s body. Post mortem is yet to be done, they say. They will be able to tell us this evening when her body will be sent back. We are now waiting for the call,” confirmed Balbeer Negi, Nitisha’s uncle.
The family also received a call from the office of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, assuring full cooperation.
“The team management is responsible for this incident. We allowed our daughter to go there, believing she will be taken care of. The association of School Games Federation of India is equally responsible for what happened,” lashed out the uncle.
The four other girls who were selected for the same team — Deepika Venkatesh, Yukti Verma and Vani Pant and Ananya Arora — were also with Nitisha when the incident happened.
Anisha Dogra and Manshi Mishra — from Ahlcon Public School — returned home this morning.
Talking to City Spidey, Dogra recounted, “All the 16 teammates had gone there. Coaches and the team cocoordinator had not accompanied us. We were all enjoying in the water when suddenly I noticed a heavy wave carrying away my friends. It all happened in a flash — too quick for us to even raise an alarm. We started shouting for help. Noticing the girls drowning, boys from the Under-19 hockey team, who were also at the beach, ran for help. They caught Vani, Yukti, Deepika and Anaya, but Nitisha was not found. She was found dead the next morning.”
On November 30, City Spidey had carried out a report on the five girls from East Delhi chosen for the 16-member women’s team representing India at the Under-19 football tournament in Australia. On the same day, the team had left for Australia, along with coaches Virender Singh and Garima Dikshit.
Shyam Verma, father of Yukti Verma, who is still in Australia, said his daughter was out of danger now. “All the four girls are doing OK now. They were discharged from the hospital on Sunday evening. When I was talking to Yukti on the phone, she was crying. These girls must be brought back home as soon as possible.”