10.5 C
Sunday, March 26, 2023

J&K Women’s Rugby Team: Despite 7-0 loss coach cheers up team

LocalJ&K Women’s Rugby Team: Despite 7-0 loss coach cheers up team

At the opening match in the women’s category at the Punjab University hockey grounds on Friday, Jammu and Kashmir women’s team captain Sandeep Kaur along with Natasha were rushed to the ambulance near the ground. While Natasha had to be sent to the Sector 16 hospital for treatment, Kaur joined the rest of the team members for a talk with coaches Suhail Ahmed Bhat and Muhammed Iqbal Bhat. Though the team lost 0-7 to Andhra Pradesh, it was a learning curve for the state team, which only got a rugby ground for training in Srinagar six months ago. The 14 members of the Jammu and Kashmir women’s team are among the 3,000-odd players from the state, who are pursuing the sport.rugby

“Competing in the nationals means a lot for the girls. Rugby was introduced in Srinagar in 2004 and most of the girls used to train at football or other grounds, including Gindun Sports Centre. But some locals would object to girls training initially. We got the rugby ground at Polo Ground, Srinagar, six months ago. At present, there are more than 3,000 girls who are playing rugby in 18 districts of the state,” said 28-year-old Suhail Ahmed Bhat, captain of the men’s team and coach of the women’s team.

The J&K women’s team has played in the Rugby 15 and Sevens Nationals regularly and Srinagar resident Soliha Yousuf has made it to the national camp thrice. The 28-year-old player also coaches the U-14 and U-18 teams and is an inspiration for the team members. “A lot of us faced some resistance from neighbours or friends when we started playing rugby. Initially, we would train only on Sundays and at different grounds. But as we practised more, our confidence grew. Now more than 100 girls train regularly in Srinagar. Our head coach Irfan sir and Soliha mam has been an inspiration to all of us and we too aspire to play for the Indian team. The J&K Rugby Association is soon launching a rugby league for men and women’s teams and more than 12 women clubs will compete,” shared 18-year-old Mehak Salim, who started playing rugby in 2015.

Like Salim, 18-year-old Nazima Majeed began playing rugby in Kupwara under coach Aadil Manzoor Pir. The Muglpora village resident, whose father Abdul Majeed worked in J&K Police and died of stomach infection in 2013, is the only rugby player from her village and trains every weekend. “Most of the people of our village don’t know about rugby. When I heard about girls training in Kupwara, I told my mother Nazeema Begum and she supported me.

Initially, four to five girls trained under Aadil sir. But now, more than 50 girls train regularly at the boys’ school grounds. The villagers still hesitate in sending their daughters for training but I hope we can win some matches here and then I can tell them all about our achievement. Our family doesn’t get the pension of my father and my brother runs a shop in the village. But seeing me in the rugby jersey is the biggest joy for them,” shared Majeed.

For captain Sandeep Kaur, rugby also offers a chance to interact with other players. Kaur, along with Salim, plays for Spartans Rugby FC and also played in the Snow National Rugby Championship. “I started rugby as I like contact sports. The different formations and the fact that the sport required attack as well as defence fascinated me. The team does not train regularly, but now we have got a rugby ground in Srinagar which will provide us more time to train specifically. I hope more youngsters will opt for sports,” said Kaur, who is a resident of Maisuma, Srinagar.

Courtesy: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chandigarh/jk-womens-rugby-team-a-coach-cheers-up-team-after-loss-got-own-ground-just-6-months-ago-5229868/

Check out our other content

Check out other tags:

Most Popular Articles