The Indian Women’s Rugby team is gearing up for the 19th Asian Games 2023, scheduled from September 23 to October 8 in Hangzhou, China. Ranked 7th in Asia, India is determined to make its mark at this prestigious sporting event.
In preparation for the Asian Games, the team underwent rigorous training at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) campus in Kolkata, shortlisting 12 players after the camp. Despite facing challenges in selecting players from rural areas, the Indian Rugby Football Union persevered. Many of the players hailed from conservative families with limited financial resources.
Under the guidance of South African coach Ludwiche Van Deventer and the support of Mr. Rahul Bose, President of the Indian Rugby Football Union, the team made significant strides in developing the sport in India.
The stories of individual players reflect their determination. Tarulata Naik, from Odisha, defied family expectations to pursue rugby and now dreams of winning gold at the Asian Games. Shweta Shahi, a 19-year-old from Bihar, learned rugby by watching online videos and overcame financial challenges to represent India. Hupi Majhi, also from Odisha, broke free from societal norms to become a full-time rugby player.
Sheetal Sharma, the captain from Delhi, and Sandhya Rai, the vice-captain from West Bengal, share their inspiring journeys. Additionally, Kalyani from Maharashtra faced initial opposition but now aims to excel in the Asian Games.
The team, led by Captain Sheetal Sharma, is confident and united in its goal to perform well in the Asian Games. The support from the government, coaches, and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has been instrumental in their journey.
Re-reported from the article originally published in India Today