The Indian Under-18 girls rugby team, led by Odisha’s Sumitra Nayak, is all set to take part in the Paris World Games 2017 commencing on July 7.
This is the second international tournament for the U-18 girls team after they bagged a bronze at the inaugural Asian U-18 Rugby Sevens held in UAE, it was announced at a media conference today.
“We had a selection camp where 25 girls took part out of which 12 girls, five each from Odisha and West Bengal (and the other two from Delhi and Mumbai), were selected,” said team coach Nasser Hussain.
Hussain said five girls – Sumitra, Rajni Sabar, Basanti Pangi, Lija Sardar (all Odisha) and Gargee Walekar (Maharashtra) – were part of the squad in the Asian tournament held in UAE.
“So far, seven teams have confirmed their participation for the rugby event,” said the coach, adding it was a fairly young side.
Apart from rugby, the World Games – conducted with an eye on France winning the bid to host the 2024 Olympics – will see competitions in volleyball, football, badminton, basketball and handball.
The Games will see participation of around 15,000 athletes from over 60 countries.
Hussain said that team members will be meeting members of both the French women’s national rugby team and under 18 team during their visit.
Sumitra Nayak said the team will try their best to clinch a gold medal in the tournament.
“We have been training since the past one month under Hussain Sir and we have practised a lot for the tournament and will give our best,” said Nayak, who initially trained at the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences in Bhubaneshwar.
Mumbai girl Gargee said she got acquainted with the sport through an initiative of the Rugby India.
She assured that she will give her best in the team’s bid to emerge victorious in the tournament.
“My parents have supported me, but it is difficult to balance academic life and sports,” said Gargee, who is studying in a city-based college.