The country’s first ever women’s cricket tournament will be held later this month, the Qatar Cricket Association (QCA) announced.

The start of the tournament has been tentatively fixed at March 22nd but a date will soon be confirmed when the QCA meet on March 15th.

“The QCA Challenge Cup will be a good opportunity for women cricketers to showcase their skills,” said QCA President M. A. Shahid

“Our ultimate aim is to build a solid foundation for women’s cricket so that we can have teams representing Qatar in various international tournaments.”

The QCA said that they had the permission of the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) to conduct cricket tournaments for women because it was the “need of the times.”

“Qatar wants to promote women’s participation in all spheres of life and cricket is also a part of this policy. There is tremendous enthusiasm amongst the girls about this tournament,” added Tournament Director and QCA General Secretary, Manzoor Ahmed.

With an attendance of over 150 participants at recently held coaching camps, the tournament, as of now, will feature three teams – MES School Team, QCA-1 and QCA-2.

MES are being led by Lata Dakshinamurthy, QCA-1 by Ushas Andrews and QCA-2 by Paramjit Kaur Bhullar.

“About 45 ladies have been selected and three teams have been formed after we had identified talent at our coaching clinics,” said senior QCA Coach Aruna De Silva, who is also in charge of the women’s cricket development programme.

QCA are also planning under-15 and under-19 tournaments shortly so that a team can be sent to represent their country in the upcoming ACC event in Thailand.

Filed March 11 2008