Asia Rugby Championship: Indian women return with bronze

After a successful campaign in Philippines where the Indian women's team came third in the Asia Rugby's Women's Championship, the bronze medallists are happy to see dividends for their efforts.

Asia Rugby Women's Championship

The Indian women's rugby team won bronze in the Asia Women's Rugby Championship.   -  Special arrangement

The Indian women’s rugby team scripted history by clinching its first-ever international 15s victory against a higher-ranked Singapore 21-19 tor the bronze medal in the Asia Women’s Div-1 Rugby 15s championship earlier this week in the Philippines.

Five members of the victorious squad - Sumitra Nayak, Hupi Majhi, Rajani Sabar, Meerarani Hembram and Parbati Kisku were present in a media interaction held at the Press Council of India on Friday.

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A few days back a video went viral which showed these rugby girls shedding tears of joy following Sumitra’s penalty strike in the dying minutes, that helped India beat Singapore to finish third.

“We worked so hard but never won. Finally, this has come,” said a jubilant Hupi.

On taking up rugby, Sumitra said, “We come from an institution where 27,000 tribal children study on 100% scholarship. Out of the lot, the senior boys went to England in 2007 to play rugby there. We were inspired ever since and thought it's a good way for us, coming from tribal areas where opportunities are rare, to travel abroad and play."

Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) promoted the girls to play competitive Rugby, Achyuta Samanta, the founder of the institute, described the struggles of the girls and stated that like Sumitra, each player from KISS had his/her own inspiring story and this was what pushed him even more to back these children to do well in all stages of their lives.

“Players from the programme have brought laurels to India many times. They have made it to the men's and women's national rugby teams for the last five years and performing very well in national and international championships” Samanta added.

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