RUGBY RETURNS TO PLAY AFTER 18 MONTHS

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Indian under 18 girls rugby team set to participate at the Asian Championships in September

Bhubaneswar(Kalinga Voice) : Rugby India today announced their return to play plans with the confirmation of the Indian Junior National Girls team’s participation in the Asia Rugby U18 Girls Rugby Sevens Championship 2021 to be held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on 18th & 19th September, 2021.
The Indian National team, sponsored by Societe Generale, has officially partnered with the Govt. of Odisha and the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), as associate sponsors, to support the Rugby India’s High-Performance program for the next 3 years. As part of this arrangement, the National training and selection camp of the Junior National Girls team has commenced in Odisha at the KIIT University campus in Bhubaneswar from 14th August and will continue till 16th September 2021.
The announcements made by Rahul Bose, Actor, Director, Writer, Philanthropist and Board member of Rugby India and other eminent dignitaries present were, Mr. Toby Lawson, Chief Executive and Chief Country Officer, Societe Generale India, Shri. Tusharkanti Behera, Hon. Minister of Sports & Youth Services, Govt. of Odisha, Shri. R. Vineel Krishna, IAS, Commissioner -cum-Secretary, Sports & Youth Services, Govt. of Odisha, Prof. Achyuta Samanta, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, Kandhamal & Founder, KIIT and KISS, Shri. Vikram Ahuja, President, Indian Rugby Football Union and Shri. Priyadarshi Mishra, President, Odisha Rugby Football Association.


In addition to Societe Generale (financial partners & official bank), Government of Odisha and KIIT (high performance partners), Rugby India have signed on BLK (match kit partner), Fast & Up (nutrition partner), BLADE India (National Teams partner) and Abhinav Bindra Targeting Performance (ABTP) as official partner.
Based on performance at last Sub-Junior National Championships along with recent fitness and skill test results, 52 girls from 13 States/UTs across India have been shortlisted to join the National training and selection camp of the Junior Under-18 Girls National Rugby team.
Team India’s campaign will be overseen by renowned coaches from South Africa namely. Hendrik ‘Naas’ Botha (South Africa Rugby Legend & 4 times World Rugby player of the year), Ludwiche Van Deventer (Rugby Sevens Specialist), Jannie Brooks (Strength & Conditioning Expert) along with Indian Women’s Rugby Team captain Ms. Vahbiz Bharucha (mentor & official Physiotherapist for the Under 18 Girls rugby team).
Commending the athletes, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Odisha, Shri. Naveen Patnaik, said,“The partnership between Rugby India and Government of Odisha has started taking shape. I am happy that the national girls team’s training camp is being organised here in Bhubaneswar. I would like to extend my best wishes to all girls who will make it to the U-18 squad that will play the Asian sevens in Uzbekistan.”
“Rugby has a special place in the sports development initiative in the state. Many of our young boys and girls are playing Rugby and making it to the national teams. Odisha will become the home of Indian Rugby. We would like to extend our full support to Indian Rugby and may this partnership thrive for many years”, he added.

The State also played host to this International Under 18 Asian tournament back in 2018 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. The tournament was a resounding success and featured participation from 12 Asian countries and also witnessed the Indian team finish in an impressive 4th position.
Mr. Toby Lawson, Chief Executive and Chief Country Officer, Societe Generale India further added, “We at Societe Generale support the game of rugby from grassroots through to the professional level, especially encouraging the participation of rugby by women and younger generations as a channel for social inclusion. Since 2016, we have been in support of Rugby India as they develop and prepare their talented sportspersons for international events. During these unprecedented times, Rugby India created a comprehensive plan to ensure players continued their development through virtual training programs. Wishing all the players a good preparation and a great team performance at the upcoming Asia Championship.”
Commenting on the occasion, President, Rugby India – Mr. Vikram Ahuja said “The Indian U18 Girls team is currently ranked 4th in Asia and it is our aim to better that position in this competition. We are grateful to Societe Generale and all our partners for their commitment to supporting Rugby in India. A special mention for the Govt. of Odisha that has been the backbone of many sports, including Rugby, providing both financial as well as infrastructure support to help develop, promote and expand Rugby not just at the high-performance level but also within the sports ecosystem in Odisha. We are excited about Rugby’s return to play and are hoping our girls will do the country proud”.

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