A girls’ team gets the first cricket field in Barcelona with participatory budgets

BarcelonaThey are between 15 and 24 years old, most of them were born in Pakistan and came to Catalonia as children, and they share a passion: cricket. For this reason, they have not stopped until they get Barcelona to solve what is a deficiency in the sports field: the city still does not have a field ready for this sport to be practiced. And it has more and more followers. Especially since they, those of cricket, they have become enthusiastic about it and have binged on training on grounds that do not meet the conditions and that often do not have schedules available to accommodate them. They won a place in the media spotlight, last year, when their proposal to condition an old football field in Montjuïc, the Julià de Capmany, to play cricket and other minority sports was the one that received the most support among the more than 800 that were presented in the participatory budgets. And it ended up being the second most voted (2,890 votes) of the entire process in the city, only behind the one demanding to improve the Spain Industrial park.

“We asked everyone to help us: our schools, playgrounds, university classmates, neighbors… Everyone we knew,” they explain now. And they do it with the taste of victory on their lips. Not only did they manage to get the project selected, but now they have set the date for opening the field and a municipal investment commitment of 1.6 million euros. The works, which will last six months, will start in March and should be finished in time for the pitch to be a reality at the start of next season. Next year, therefore, they will no longer be nomads and will play and train in a field with all the necessary elements.

Location of Barcelona’s first cricket pitch

Julià de Capmany soccer field

Julià de Capmany soccer field

Julià de Capmany soccer field

“We are very happy to be able to finally have a place to practice the sport we like”, celebrated Rabia Ahmed, this week, when the City Council received a representation of the members of the women’s cricket team of 11 the city. She, who is a dental graduate, has been playing cricket for just over a year. He became interested in it when his older sister told him that there was a women’s club in the Ciutat Meridiana neighborhood. And now, after all the mobilization to win a field in Barcelona, ​​he explains that his struggle is, above all, a way to claim his origins. And to do it as a woman. “We were the girls who gave everything to get the field,” adds Tasbiha Mirza. They, of course, can also use it, but the claim has the stamp of the women’s team.

Institutional reception of the team at the City Hall, with councilors Marc Serra and David Escudé.

Cricket, which is a very popular sport in Pakistan, India or Bangladesh, has arrived in Barcelona thanks to residents from these countries, who represent 2.3% of the population. There are now around 400 players in this sport in the city, organized into around thirty teams. The women’s boom occurred mainly from 2017, when a school league was launched with teams in four neighborhoods of the city (Besòs, Poble-sec, Raval and Trinitat Vella). This is where the idea of ​​the eleven women’s cricket team was born, which aims to become the first Catalan team in this discipline.

Urban recycling

Converting an old football field into a cricket field, however, has not been simple, as the councilor of Sants-Montjuïc, Marc Serra, explained in the institutional welcome to the team. First of all, because the ground where cricket is played needs more meters than football: the fields are oval and must be between 133 and 152 meters wide and between 160 and 168 meters long . And at Julià Capmany, the available space will be 150 by 90 meters. That’s why a net nine meters high is projected to contain the balls. And, also, specific elements of cricket such as the batting tunnel or the lines of the pitch.

But much more basic actions have also been needed to bring up to date a space that, in the 70s, hosted the headquarters of the Unió Esportiva Sants, which had seen its football field demolished on Carrer Galileu. Back then, the Montjuïc pitch had built-in changing rooms and bleachers, but these spaces were demolished and the facility gradually fell into disrepair. Now, the new project brings back the changing rooms and lights them up. “Urban recycling has been done to reuse a football field and it has been done without an instruction manual on how to build a cricket field because the city did not yet have one,” remarked Serra, on Tuesday, in the reception of the team “Now all that’s left for you is to win,” encouraged them the Councilor for Sports, David Escudé, before they gave a demonstration of how to play cricket, on a very small scale, in the noble lobby of the Town Hall. Next appointment: Julià de Capmany field.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *