City-based rugby players Amit Pagey and Sandeep Singh have been selected by the Pune Rugby Association to be a part of the Bombay Gymkhana team to participate in the Bangkok 10s tournament,which is scheduled to take place in Bangkok,Thailand from February 21. It is for the first time that players from Pune have been selected to play a foreign tournament. The Bangkok 10s is a 10-a-side rugby tournament,which features club teams from all over the world vying for top honours.
It is one of the most prestigious,popular and eagerly-awaited tournaments of the rugby season. Inspite of there being a very festive atmosphere,each game is taken very seriously,said Surhud Khare,coach of Pune rugby team and an IRB level one coach.
Sandeep Singh,the six foot-two inch,beast of a man is nicknamed Hammer as he was a hammer thrower before he started playing rugby. He is an experienced rugby player and has represented India at many tri-nation tournaments. My best performance for my country was in 2004,when we thrashed Pakistan 90-0. We also had a good outing against Thailand,who are ranked much higher than us,when we narrowly lost to them by eight points,said the front rower. 19-year-old Pagey on the other hand is making his debut as far as international tournaments are concerned. My selection into the Bombay Gymkhana team means a lot to me. It is definitely a step forward for me in my career. I have always wanted to play a tournament abroad and my dream has come true. I feel that this will motivate the youngsters,as they will understand that if you work hard enough on the field,opportunities will come your way. I will be looking forward to the exposure I will receive during this tournament. I will learn a lot from the international level players like Hammer sir,(Sandeep Singh) and will be able to gauge my strengths and weaknesses,said Pagey.
Pagey was born and brought up in Pune. He studied in the Vidya Niketan School for five years before shifting to Gurukul. He studied his eleventh and twelfth standard in SP College. He began his career in rugby when he was sixteen and joined the Khares Football and Rugby Academy,under the coaching of Surhud and Swapnil Khare,the rugby brothers of India. Since then he has participated in two All-India tournaments,an under-20 tournament and the Callaghan Cup,a second division national league tournament.
Surhud Khare will want young Pagey to perform to the best of his abilities. I want him to do his best. I want him to broaden his knowledge about the game and he is bound to do so after playing along side international level players. He will come back a better and more confident player after this tournament,said Khare. He added,Kai Taraporewalla has agreed to fully sponsor both these players. It is because of him that this opportunity has been made possible. He has played a vital role in the promotion of rugby in Pune.
Kai Taraporevala is the co- founder of India Advisory Partners (IAP),a Mumbai and London-based corporate finance advisory group committed to helping international companies in India. He is an active member of the INSEAD’s rugby team and also a sponsor of rugby in India.