How these sisters in sweat are inspiring young women to careers in sports 

Swetha Subbaiah, Co-founder of Sisters in Sweat, a community of women for soccer and other sports speaks about why they started this group and how it is beyond a sport group for women
Women playing football during one of the sessions organised by Sisters in Sweat (Pictures: Sisters in Sweat)
Women playing football during one of the sessions organised by Sisters in Sweat (Pictures: Sisters in Sweat)

When Swetha Subbiah and Tanvie Hans first met, to shoot an ad campaign no less, they probably never imagined that they'd end up creating a community for women to kick it big on the football field. But that's exactly what Sisters in Sweat (SIS) has been for plenty of women in Bengaluru. And today, as the country remains largely locked behind doors owing to a raging pandemic, they've taken that community and leveraged its power through online sessions. 

Recalling how they started Sisters in Sweat in 2018, Swetha says, "When I introduced Tanvie to all my friends during a birthday party, they were very excited and they asked if she can teach them the basics of football. She agreed and the following weekend, we hit the ground. While I took care of the warm up exercises and jogging." 

Tanvie Hans and Swetha Subbiah along with other girls of Sisters in Sweat community

It bears mentioning that while Swetha is a professional fitness instructor while Tanvie has played for football clubs in the United Kingdom and captains the Karnataka Women's Football Team. "Tanvie handled the football part. They enjoyed the session so much that we formed a Whatsapp group which grew organically. Then there was no stopping us from that point. Currently, we have over 1,000 women in our community."

So what kind of women are part of the community? Swetha says, "There are thousands of women who forget to take care of their health or fitness after they get busy with families or their jobs. There are also many women in our community who have never played sports in their lifetime. These women include mothers, working women, entrepreneurs, business owners, college girls, school girls and even a few grandmothers."

They are taught the basic and technical aspects of whichever sports they play or practice

COVID has also pushed them to take things online, "We realised that Sisters in Sweat is more than a support group for women and it has helped them in many ways in the past three years. Hence, we moved to virtual sessions which allowed people across the country and a few from other countries participate in our fitness sessions. These sessions are led by different experts and they are fun to participate in."

One of their major focus points is to try and motivate young women to consider a career in sports. Swetha says, "When I chose to be a professional fitness instructor, there were very few women in this profession. People would be surprised to see a woman trainer at the gym. Thankfully, this trend has changed. Through Sisters in Sweat, we want to bring many such women or girls and create job opportunities for them."

There are over 1,000 women in Sisters in Sweat community

She goes on to explain that there's a whole lot more going on beyond just soccer. "They register themselves on our platform and join us for various sessions including dance, yoga, exercise, football and so on. Every time we meet on the ground, the first half of our session involves fitness sessions, then some technical training of particular sports and finally a game at the end of the session."

As the community grew bigger, the duo decided to include a few more sports - including box cricket and are now building a community of cyclists and they are preparing to launch basketball as another option. 

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